Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Study examines factors behind ineffective HIV treatment

HIV Virus 125A new study has looked at the factors which may decrease the chances of HIV treatment being successful.

Patients with HIV are treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART), which has proven effective at improving their long-term outcomes and survival.

However, there are some cases where the treatment is unable to reduce the amount of virus present in the bloodstream. This is known as virological failure. In these cases the disease will most likely progress to AIDS, and eventually death.

The study, by A/Prof Allen Cheng , Dr Olga Vujovic and Prof Jennifer Hoy with the Monash Department of Infectious Diseases, aimed to discover the factors which lead to virological failure.

Unsurprisingly, it found that how faithfully patients adhered to their treatments was one of the clearest indicators of treatment failure. Patients who failed to attend their clinical appointments and strictly take their medication were more likely to see their disease progress.

Patients were also more likely to experience virological failure if they had hepatitis C at the same time that they had HIV.  The authors postulated that this could be because the presence and treatment of Hepatitis C may lead to the body having a higher tolerance to ART.

Contracting HIV at a younger age, and a past history of virological failure in attempting to fight the illness, were other key indicators uncovered by the study.

There have been more than 6000 cases of HIV and 2000 cases of AIDS in Australia as of 2009.

The authors recommended focusing on early intervention and support in targeting HIV.

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