Friday, July 07, 2006

Adherence to Antiretrovirals (ARVs)

Yesterday was an article, "New AIDS Pill to Treat People in Poor Countries" in the New York Times which refers to the FDA approval for a new 3-in-1 antiretroviral (ARV) pill which can be taken by HIV/AIDS patients. It is produced by an Indian generic drug company and this approval means that the US, the largest distributor of ARVs can start releasing this drug to the rest of the world in their USAID programmes. Currently the WHO has approved another 3-in-1 ARV pill and it is being used by around 400,000 patients. Why is this important for the patient? After completing this course on HIV/AIDs in Southern Africa, I learned that a major barrier for the success of ARV treatment is whether patients are willing to adhere to the requirements necessary. In countries where HIV+ are discriminated by major stigma is placed on families and friends, and poverty is prevalent, adherence can be hindered. Even simple this like finding transportation to your medical appointment, taking time off work, hiding one's status and the drugs from the family, etc. can be major dilemna. Having the chance to take only one pill twice a day can alleviate a few of the difficulties in adherence. It seems that adherence becomes a collaborated effort by medical staff, the individual, family and community to support the patient. These social actors can truly assist in successful treatment and healthy lives.

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