Many African HIV Patients Drop Out of Treatment, According to BUSPH IH Study
More than one-third of patients receiving HIV medication in Africa die or discontinue their treatment within two years, according to a study by International Health Assistant Professors Sydney Rosen, Chris Gill, and Matt Fox. The study was published in PLoS Medicine.
The study was a systematic review of published reports of retention of patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers analyzed reports published over the past seven years that gave details on adult patients remaining on antiviral treatment for at least 6 months in 13 sub-Saharan African countries. They found that two years after beginning treatment, an average of 61.6% of all patients were still receiving medication.
Rosen, Gill, and Fox noted a variety of ways to improve retention including treating people with HIV earlier, before they become seriously ill. They also suggest putting more focus on identifying why patients stop treatment and identifying associated issues including the cost of drugs or transportation to clinics. Using HIV treatment programs with high retention rates might serve as models to improve retention in other programs.
Coverage of the study includes Associated Press, BBC, Mail & Guardian, United Press International, and Voice of America.