A research carried out by TRAC plus, in conjunction with other partners, has revealed that the number of HIV patients compliant to antiretroviral treatment (ART) has gone up compared to statistics from other countries in the region.
According to the report, of the 1,427 sample group of adult patients, 93 percent reported perfect adherence to ART which has in turn led to successful viral control.
In an interview with The New Times, the Director General of TRAC plus, Prof. Michael Kramer, noted that despite the good results, a lot more still needs to be done to scale up the national HIV treatment program.
“Our patients’ compliance to the treatment program is high compared to other African countries in the region, but still, with the right measures, we can improve on this,” Kramer explained.
“We are carrying out discussions with our partners to evaluate the quality of the treatment program which is offered to over 70,000 patients across the country”.
The report, the third of its kind, also showcased the need for strict treatment compliance amongst HIV patients for successful outcomes, prevention of drug resistance, as well as prolonging patient’s survival.
Among the many cases, the report cites men, young people, the uneducated as well as individuals who do not believe that ART is effective as cases with the least compliance level to the treatment programme.
“Some of the reasons associated to lack of compliance to the program also include patients’ lack of information regarding why they need to take the medicine, and the dangers involved in skipping their doses,” Kramer added.
According to the study, some patients under treatment have also fallen off the program out of fear of ART associated side effects.
He emphasised that “patients who fail to complete treatment program or who skip doses are at risk of developing resistance.”
Increased communication and education about HIV and the importance of ART are some of the strategies that were recommended to help improve treatment compliance.
According to the report, there are about 150,000 adults and children living with HIV and AIDS in the country.