Sep 13, 2011

Rwanda Initiates Aggressive Treatment Strategy For HIV Discordant Couples

AUTHOR:IrinSOURCE:Irin PlusNews Global

Health officials in Rwanda have changed their treatment guidelines for HIV discordant (one partner HIV+, the other HIV-) couples following a monumental study released in May that showed huge reductions in infections when antiretrovirals(ARVs) were given as soon as one partner was discovered to be HIV+. Transmission between partners in a stable relationship is a common source of new infections in Rwanda. HIV+ individuals will begin taking ARVs as soon as they test positive. WHO does not currently have formal guidelines for treating HIV discordant couples. Rwandan health officials are planning to begin ARV treatment as soon as infection is confirmed. Although this will increase present costs, it may reduce future costs by decreasing the probability that an HIV partner will become infected.

Unfortunately, this initiative has the potential to fail because Rwandan health officials have not developed a method of tracking ARV usage in discordant couples. Patients who skip doses run the risk of developing drug restistance. Life for Mothers plans to implement a tracking system in its Phase II pilot project in rural Uganda. This will ensure that HIV patients are taking their medication and receive follow up care. 

To read the Irin article about HIV treatment in Rwanda, click here.

Did you know?

In Africa and South Asia, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age.

Source:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2010

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