WHO urges action against HIV drug resistance threat!

Sharon Kavhu

Paris – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has alerted countries on the increasing trend of resistance to HIV drugs detailed in a report based on national surveys conducted in several countries.

The organisation warns that the growing threat could undermine global progress in treating and preventing HIV infection if early and effective action is not taken.

According to the WHO HIV Resistance report, six of the 11 countries surveyed in Africa, Asia and Latin America, have over 10 percent people starting ART with a strain of HIV that was resistant to some of the most widely used HIV medicines.

The 11 countries involved in the survey are Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Myanmar.

In a statement, WHO’s director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said WHO will recommend the threshold of the 10 percent to urgently review their HIV treatment programmes once the threshold has been reached.

“Antimicrobial drug resistance is a growing challenge to global health and sustainable development. We need to proactively address the rising level of resistance to HIV drugs if we are to achieve the global target of ending AIDS by 2030,” said Ghebreyesus.”

According to WHO, Increasing HIV drug resistance trends could lead to more infections and deaths.

“Mathematical modelling shows an additional 135 000 deaths and 105 000 new infections could follow in the next five years if no action is taken, and HIV treatment costs could increase by an additional US$ 650 million during this time,” highlighted part of WHO’s presentation on Tackling HIV drug resistance.

“Tackling HIV drug resistance will require the active involvement of a broad range of partners. A new five-year Global Action Plan calls on all countries and partners to join efforts to prevent, monitor and respond to HIV drug resistance and to protect the ongoing progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. In addition, WHO has developed new tools to help countries monitor HIV drug resistance, improve the quality of treatment programmes and transition to new HIV treatments, if needed.”

July 2017
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