People Living with HIV/AIDS have been advised to take Anti Retro Viral Treatment (ART) as prescribed to avoid resistance to the medication.
The call was made during a two-day international workshop on new evidence on HIV/AIDS and STI management.
STIs are Sexually Transmitted Infections.
The Deputy Director of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Dr. Anita Asiimwe, had earlier stated that Rwanda had achieved more than 90 percent ART coverage. She, however, observed that there was a looming threat of resistance to the treatment.
“The main threat to our program now would be the acquired resistance to most ART drugs,” Asiimwe stated.
She called for an HIV drug resistance prevention monitoring program to improve the quality of care among People Living with HIV/AIDS.
The coordinator of HIV and STIs Care and Treatment Department, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, said that patients should respect prescription to avoid developing resistance to ART.
“If someone is on ART and doesn’t follow prescription, for example, by skipping a dose or tablet, then the person is likely get the resistant HIV virus.
“The resistant HIV virus requires another type of medication which is expensive. This virus is also resistant to the usual ARTs,” said Nsanzimana.
The official explained that if one misses their medication, the viruses multiply and become resistant to ART.
“There are 40 copies of the virus in an HIV positive body, with a CD4 cell count. If one skips medication, the viruses multiply to 10 billion copies hence becoming strong and resistant to ART,” the physician explained.
He further stated that it is presently intricate to detect the resistant virus because Rwanda does not have the capacity.
Nsanzimana, however, noted that equipment are now in place, adding that three Rwandan medics have been sent abroad for training to gain expertise in detecting the resistant virus.
He said that the medication for the virus is available but was very expensive yet they are supposed to give it to the patients for free.