HIV/Aids patients should adhere to anti-retrovirals

PEOPLE living with HIV and Aids are being urged to adhere to life-prolonging anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to avoid resistance and improve quality of life.

BY SUKUOLUHLE NDLOVU

Masvingo provincial HIV focal person, Clemence Sibanda, said not everyone has adequate information on adherence to treatment, so the issue should not be swept under the carpet.

“Adherence is the most important factor in the success of the ART industry because without good adherence, one’s health cannot improve as this is a lifetime thing. A person should continue taking their ARVs since there is no cure. Resistance is being brought by poor adherence to medication, 90% of resistance is being caused by poor adherence,” Sibanda said at the Cascade of TB and HIV treatment literacy manual workshop in Maringire on Wednesday.

Drug resistance, which can cause HIV treatment to fail, is an issue among people living with HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe as some default due to failure to access drugs which have been in short supply nationwide, while others, due to lack of information, believe they have been cured of HIV once their viral load goes down.

Sibanda said taking ARVs suppress viral multiplication, boost the immune system and improve quality of life.

He said medication adherence means taking HIV medicines every day and exactly as prescribed.

Skipping HIV medicines allows HIV to multiply, which increases the risk that the virus will mutate and produce drug-resistant HIV.

Sibanda urged HIV positive people to attend all clinic and hospital appointments, take enough pills when travelling and to disclose their status to close relatives.

“People who drink and abuse drugs find it difficult to adhere. People also seem to listen a lot to faith healers and end up quitting medication which then leads to resistance.
Such things have to be taken note of and people (living with HIV) should be equipped with the correct information for there to be less issues of resistance among those who take ARVs,” he said.

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