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Strategy needed for HIV treatment success

Monday February 24th, 2014

Strategies need to be put in place in South Africa to ensure that HIV positive people continue with their treatment, according to a new study.

The plea comes from academics at Royal Holloway, University of London, after they found younger people, men, and those without children are more likely to stop attending clinics for HIV treatment.

Dr Michael Evangeli, from the university’s Department of Psychology, worked alongside colleagues at the University of Southampton and the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, to analyse the progress of 380 people with HIV.

The team followed the participants, who were being treated in a rural part of South Africa, for four years to see if and why they dropped their care plan.

The results, published in PLOS ONE, revealed the need for new strategies.

“There is a pressing need to engage young people, and men, in long-term care,” said Dr Evangeli.

“Medication for HIV is only given to those who are most unwell and they need to attend clinics regularly. Failing to attend is a problem for both the health of these individuals and for the health of others whom they may put at risk of HIV infection.”

He said the medical sector needed to improve its understanding of retention in care in future studies.

“Ultimately strategies must be put in place to help people remain in care and get the treatment they so desperately need to help slow down the spread of HIV and save as many lives as possible,” added Dr Evangeli.

PLOS ONE 20 February 2014

Tags: Africa | Flu & Viruses | UK News

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