Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

HIV as a chronic disease: Dealing with lifelong treatment in Africa

Date:
March 28, 2014
Source:
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
Summary:
Since 2004, the number of patients on antiretroviral drugs increased 24-fold in Sub-Saharan Africa to 6.9 million. HIV has become a chronic disease which demands lifelong strict adherence to treatment. However, health systems in Southern Africa are not equipped to keep an unprecedented large number of patients in lifelong treatment. Alternatives are therefore urgently needed, a researcher concludes.

Peer Support Group in Tete, Mozambique.
Credit: Freya Rasschaert

Since 2004, the number of patients on antiretroviral drugs increased 24-fold in Sub-Saharan Africa to 6.9 million. HIV has become a chronic disease which demands lifelong strict adherence to treatment. However, health systems in Southern Africa are not equipped to keep an unprecedented large number of patients in lifelong treatment. Alternatives are therefore urgently needed. Freya Rasschaert, researcher at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp, explored innovative solutions that take into account the needs of patients and the local reality. Rasschaert will receive a doctorate on Friday (March 28) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel for her research in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Related Articles


In these countries, HIV care services were decentralized to peripheral health centers to facilitate access to lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, these peripheral centers are usually not equipped or adapted to deal with the additional work pressure and the number of additional patients. Malawi and Ethiopia are two examples of how this problem can be addressed delegating tasks to lower health cadres and creating new functions dedicated to HIV care, without compromising the quality of the care. However, strengthening health systems only is not enough to improve access to ART and retention in care: "As long as a patient is sick, a health center remains the most indicated place for treatment. However, you can't expect a fit HIV patient on ART to travel for two to three hours ever month just to fetch his or her pills. Furthermore, all peripheral health centers will be overcrowded and saturated within a short amount of time," says Rasschaert.

According to Rasschaert, treatment models of other chronic diseases, with the emphasis on 'self-management', can be applied to HIV care. Health care providers then no longer carry the main responsibility, but are essentially involved in teaching the necessary skills and knowledge to help patients cope with their disease themselves and to accompany them during this process. "This way people with HIV actively participate in the care of their chronic illness. At the same time, it reduces the work pressure in the health centers, providing more time for the health staff to care for the acutely ill."

Most of the chronic care models in developed countries can count on the support of strong health systems and multidisciplinary teams, which is rarely the case in countries with limited resources. That is why other support mechanisms, such as 'peer support' and social engagement, are so important. The community-based treatment model in Tete, Mozambique, is a good example of how patients can play an active role in their own care and the care of fellow patients. Groups formed by patients stable on ART ensure monthly access to antiretroviral drugs through a rotating drug collection system. They also offer support in therapy adherence and provide a protected environment in which patients can freely discuss their daily problems and challenges.

"HIV patients and their communities can play an important role in keeping people in treatment, but that's no excuse not to tackle the health system's problems. Stronger health systems and innovative patient-centered care should go hand in hand in lifelong HIV care," concludes Rasschaert.

Rasschaert made use of literature studies, analysis of routine data, retrospective cohort analyses and qualitative research methods to come to her conclusions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. "HIV as a chronic disease: Dealing with lifelong treatment in Africa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140328075815.htm>.
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. (2014, March 28). HIV as a chronic disease: Dealing with lifelong treatment in Africa. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140328075815.htm
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. "HIV as a chronic disease: Dealing with lifelong treatment in Africa." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140328075815.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins