July 21, 2009
More people with HIV//AIDS in Africa could be treated if routine laboratory testing to monitor the disease were dropped in favor of clinically driven monitoring, according to new research.
More than 6 million people in Africa need AIDS treatment, but just 2.2 million receive it. The cost savings of switching to clinically driven monitoring could boost the number of patients receiving treatment by one-third, said one physician.
The study, presented Tuesday at the 5th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Cape Town, involved 3,316 HIV-positive patients in Uganda and Zimbabwe. The patients were put into treatment and randomly assigned to either laboratory and clinical monitoring (LCM) or clinically driven monitoring (CDM). After five years, 90 percent of patients who underwent treatment and LCM were still alive, compared to 87 percent who received treatment without quarterly hematology, toxicity, and CD4 testing.
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