September 13, 2010
IRIN/PlusNews examines a program in Africa "to monitor transmitted HIV drug resistance as well as 'secondary' drug resistance (acquired during treatment), coordinated by the PharmAccess African Studies to Evaluate Resistance (PASER) -- a project of the PharmAccess Foundation, a Dutch health NGO -- and part of a broader initiative to track HIV drug resistance in Africa and Asia." The program supports a recent study in Zambia that found "nearly 6 percent of patients about to start HIV treatment for the first time [in three clinics in Lusaka, Zambia,] already had resistance to standard first-line antiretroviral (ARV) drugs," that was published in JAIDS. According to the news service, the PASER program is tracking HIV drug resistance in five other African nations.
The article examines factors contributing to the spread of HIV drug-resistance and the challenges and costs associated with treating HIV-positive patients who are resistant to first-line HIV drugs. The piece includes quotes from Raph Hamers of the PharmAccess Foundation, who was the lead author of the study, and an HIV clinician in South Africa (9/9).
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