May 19, 2009
Researchers from the Makerere University hospital in Uganda, the U.S. and Belgium have developed a formula, based on a set of questions, for determining HIV-positive people's risk of treatment failure and drug resistance, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society, the New York Times reports. According to the Times, most HIV-positive people in Africa rarely have access to viral load tests to determine if they are developing resistance to first-line antiretroviral drugs because the testing is expensive and complicated.
The researchers questioned 496 HIV-positive people about:
The researchers also took blood samples to determine the participants' CD4+ T cell counts. They found that having ever missed treatment for two days or a 30% decrease in CD4+ count predicted treatment failure. The researchers said that viral load testing, when available, be given to these patients first. In addition, the Times reports that the new method appears to work better than World Health Organization guidelines, which are based on clinical signs of HIV progression and CD4+ counts (McNeil, New York Times, 5/18).
The study is available online.
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2009 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.