Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Expanded access to ART has the potential to avert millions of AIDS orphans in Africa

Via aidsmap, by Michael Carter
Universal adult access to antiretroviral therapy compared to current roll-out could prevent over 4 million more children being orphaned because of HIV in the sub-Saharan African countries hardest hit by AIDS, according to published in the online journal AIDS Research and Therapy.

“Results from this study highlight the positive impact that expanded ART [antiretroviral therapy] may have in sub-Saharan countries already burdened with high numbers of AIDS orphans,” comment the investigators. They add, “we found that achieving universal ART uptake among adults may avert over 4 million maternal, paternal and double AIDS orphans over the next 10 years.”

It is estimated that 11.6 million children in sub-Saharan Africa have already lost one or both parents because of HIV. Orphans have greater material, physical, health-related and psychological need, and there is also evidence that they have higher levels of HIV-related risk behaviour. Moreover, HIV-infected orphans often delay accessing essential care and have poor rates of adherence to HIV therapy.

Antiretroviral therapy has significantly reduced rates of HIV-related illness and death. At the end of 2008, it was estimated that 44% of eligible patients in sub-Saharan Africa were receiving HIV therapy.

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[If an item is not written by an IRMA member, it should not be construed that IRMA has taken a position on the article's content, whether in support or in opposition.]

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