Vitalwave Supports World AIDS Day – Act Aware!

Today is World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people across the globe to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In the more than 30 years since HIV first emerged, more than 30 million people have succumbed to the disease. Amazing progress has since been made. Today, millions of people now have access to antiretroviral medication and the HIV infection rate in children is steadily on the decline.

On World AIDS Day, it is important to highlight one of the key issues impeding the fight against HIV/AIDS – drug resistance. This is the ability of HIV to thrive against the effects and efforts of an antiretroviral drug that is administered to prevent its replication. Some of the various factors that contribute towards treatment failure and HIV drug resistance include lack of knowledge among patients and healthcare staff, lack of strict adherence to treatment regimens, drug stock-outs, as well as sub-par patient monitoring mechanisms.

Today, it is important to celebrate the milestones organizations such as the WHO have achieved in the prevention and assessment of HIV Drug Resistance. The Organization has established the HIVResNet which is a global network of more than 50 institutions, labs, and experts aimed to support capacity building, surveillance, and data analysis.  It was found that access to ART in low and middle income countries have increased a notable amount; showing more than 6 million people receiving ART at the end of 2010 in comparison to a dismal 400,000 people having access to ART in these countries at the end of 2003. WHO has provided countries with “Early Warning Indicators” compiled from medical and pharmacy records that monitor the functioning of ART sites and mitigate chances of drug resistance.

Although the overall low rates of HIV drug resistance are indeed positive, countries and clinical sites must continue to monitor HIV drug resistance among the standard population. On World AIDS day, it is important to highlight the accomplishments already made and the need for national HIV drug resistance assessment strategies to be developed and used as a part of comprehensive HIV treatment programs.

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