Fighting the tendency to default on HIV/Aids treatment

Brian Hayward haywardb@avusa.co.za

KEEPING TABS. . . A nurse at a Nelson Mandela Bay clinic shows one of the many medication shelves used for dispensing antiretrovirals (ARVs) to HIV-positive patients. Picture: Eugene CoetzeeAS more HIV-positive patients are put onto antiretroviral treatment (ART), doctors warn of the rising global phenomenon of patients defaulting on their medication “as soon as they feel better”.

 

But hard work by NGOs and a drive by government to counsel patients on how important it is to continue taking their daily concoction of pills before they begin treatment – coupled with a new electronic system of monitoring if patients miss a visit to the clinic – appears to be paying off.

The worry, say clinicians, is that with the complex regimen of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, should patients skip treatment for more than three months at a time, their system could become immune to the most widely available line of ARV treatment, and have to be put onto a more complex second or third line.

There are about 1.5-million South Africans on ART, with about 26200 living in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The Health Department’s head of the HIV/Aids programme in the Bay, Nadiema van der Bergh, said despite the many people on ART in the city, just 97 had defaulted on their treatment long enough to warrant them being moved onto a second, more costly and more complex level of ART.

The minimal amount of defaulters points towards a successful adherence campaign.

“Defaulting has been a problem for a long time. To try and combat that we have adherence clubs which is like a support group,” said Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) researcher, Marcus Low.

“The problem of defaulting is very complex, because in rural areas the issue of transport is a major issue, especially when people have to travel half a day to get their treatment. There are advances, though, such as with more clinics, and medication being dispensed for two months at a time instead of one.”

Daygan Eagar, health researcher with watchdog organisation Section27, said the challenge was that when patients “don’t feel sick, they don’t take their medication”.

“We [South Africa] have managed to become quite successful when it comes to adherence,” Eagar said. “It might be a challenge when [ART is expanded to all HIV-positive patients with] CD4 counts 350 [and under]. But there are people in the country who have been on ART for 10 years now, and a lot of that has to do with work by organisations like the TAC, which has worked hard on treatment literacy and have shown that treatment literacy is fairly high.”

A list of all the ART centres in Nelson Mandela Bay

One thought on “Fighting the tendency to default on HIV/Aids treatment

  • April 25, 2017 at 8:28 am
    Permalink

    I have been HIV positive for 6 years and long for the day to be
    free of this disease. I would love to be part of any trial that
    helped find the cure, i have an undetectable viral load and CD4
    count of around 1100. I have tried almost everything but I
    couldn’t find any solution on my disease, despite all these
    happening to me, i always spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from
    hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve,
    until one day i was just browsing on the internet when i came
    across a great post of !Mechelle rose ! who truly said that she
    was been diagnose with HIV and was healed that very week
    through the help of this great powerful healing spell doctor ,I
    wonder why he is called the great Dr, adigba , i never knew it was
    all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing
    that is causing all this. so I quickly contacted him, and he ask
    me some few questions and so i did all the things he asked me
    to do,He ask me to buy some herbs and which I did for my
    cure,only to see that at the very day which he said i will be
    healed, all the strength that has left me before rush back and i
    becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my
    life all because of me, so i went to hospital to give the final test
    to the disease and the doctor said i am HIV negative, i am very
    amazed and happy about the healing doctor adigba gave to me
    from the ancient part of Africa, you can email him now for your
    own healing too on his email: dr.adigbaspelltemple@gmail.com or whatsapp him@+2347064810223 thanks

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment moderation policy. Your email address is required but will not be published.