The survival rate of HIV-infected patients in
Many of the more than 5 million HIV-infected people living in India have been unable to obtain treatment due to the high cost. With the introduction of generic ART into
The drastically lower cost of ART sparked a rise in the number of people seekingand obtaining--treatment for their infection. Researchers in
With the availability of much-needed drugs came better health. Opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis, a common problem for immuno-compromised patients, occur at a much lower rate in those receiving ART and its highly active drug counterpart, HAART. Accessible drugs have led, in part, to an 80 percent decline in HIV-related deaths in
Despite ART's importance in improving HIV-infected people's health, it can also cause problems. Adverse events, such as rash, nausea, diarrhea, headache and anemia, can arise from antiretroviral use. But are the side effects serious enough to discourage patients from continuing ART? "No. Benefits of HAART outweigh the toxicities, based on our experience in our patients," said lead author Nagalingeswaran Kumarasamy, PhD, of the YRG Centre for AIDS Research and Education in Chennai.
Along with the much cheaper price of ART -- which can be expected to drop even further, said Kumarasamy -- comes further encouragement for Indian HIV patients to seek treatment. "Voluntary counseling centers are being set up in public hospitals and in centers where persons with high risk for HIV seek medical attention," Kumarasamy said. Such centers offer pre- and post-test counseling, which includes medical counseling on HIV care, like ART. Making HIV-infected people aware of affordable treatment options is an important additional step toward curbing the spread of a deadly disease in a resource-poor country.
Source: Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)