A form of drug-resistant HIV has been increasing in areas in sub-Saharan Africa for decades, according to a new study published in the Lancet journal.
“Our findings suggest a significant increase in [the] prevalence of drug resistance over time since antiretroviral rollout in regions of sub-Saharan Africa,” an abstract of the study reads.
The journal noted, “The findings are of concern and draw attention to the need for enhanced surveillance and drug-resistance prevention efforts.”
The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Union.
“Without continued and increased national and international efforts, rising HIV drug resistance could jeopardize a decadelong trend of decreasing HIV/Aids-related illness and death in low- and middle-income countries,” said Silvia Bertagnolio from the World Health Organization and Ravindra Gupta at the University College London, who contributed to the Lancet study, reported the BBC.“Drug resistance is a consequence of people not taking their medication properly,” Gupta told the broadcaster.
Gupta said that people could better adhere to taking their drugs in developing countries if they had better access to food and clean water so they could properly take their medication. Monitoring patients, when possible, is also recommended.
“We do expect to see drug resistance, and it’s at around 10 percent in the U.K. and U.S. But here, we monitor people regularly and switch people to different drugs if they develop resistance,” he added.