On November 24, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its latest Report on HIV drug resistance which describes an in-depth picture of the extent to which drug resistance is increasing. They also included the steps countries are taking to receive effective medicines to treat HIV and prevent its transmission.
HIV drug resistance is rising despite successful antiretroviral drugs
According to WHO, the report reveals that 64% of the focus countries or those with high cases of HIV infection have national action plans in place by 2020 to respond, monitor and prevent HIV resistance. The UN Health Agency urges nations to monitor resistance and recommends people take antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).
Despite the success of suppressing HIV through ARVs, the WHO found that countries have reached a 10% threshold for drug resistance. The report also said that individuals who have been exposed to ARVs are three times more likely to demonstrate resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) drug class.
The WHO stressed that the results highlight the need to look for alternatives and transition to drugs containing dolutegravir, especially in focus countries that still use NNRTI-based ARV treatment.
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High HIV drug resistance detected in infants
WHO HIV Drug Resistance 2021 showed that studies in 10 sub-Saharan African countries showed that it is important for children to switch from NNRTI-class drugs to dolutegravir-containing drugs. This supports the statistics that showed that almost half of infants in these countries were diagnosed with the drug-resistant type of infection, WION reported.
WHO Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Program Director Meg Doherty said the report holds countries accountable for monitoring HIV drug resistance and ensuring patients receive appropriate and effective treatments.
WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added that nations should use antimicrobial therapies such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasits to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.
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