Since the roll-out of antiretroviral therapy (ART) almost ten years ago, drug-resistant HIV has increased significantly in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, researchers have found.
In a new study published in The Lancet (23 July), researchers call for urgent action to improve surveillance of the prevalence of resistance to ART, through undertaking population-based surveys of HIV-positive people.
“Surveillance programmes need to be incorporated into treatment programmes because it is very important to understand resistance trends and, therefore, to inform strategy of whether we need to change regimens,” lead author Ravindra Gupta, a researcher at University College London, in the United Kingdom, told SciDev.Net.
The study used data relating to over 26,000 HIV-positive people in Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Governments in Sub-Saharan African began rolling out ARTs in 2002, with Botswana being the first to launch a national treatment programme in January that year. Since then, countries across the region have developed similar national treatment programmes.
But researchers from Nigeria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States have identified a significant rise in ART resistance in regions of Sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade.