- A new study revealed that the anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment is failing among one third of sub-Saharan HIV/AIDS patients.
Conducted by the Boston University School of Public Health in United States, the study, carried out in 13 sub-Saharan countries, was published by the Public Libray of Science.
It showed that sub-Saharan patients on ARV medication die or discontinue treatment within two years of starting it, with only 61% of all patients still receiving medication.
The study discovered that that many patients were either too late to use ARV or impossible for them to travel to distant clinics for treatment. Some patients discontinued treatment when they were charged to pay for the services.
It was proven that some patients lately used the ARV drugs and died within few months after starting the treatment.
The retention rates for country's programmes also vary. While one South African programme recorded 85% retention after two years of treatment that of Uganda recorded 46% retention during the same period.
However, researchers took note of the varying rates of success, which depended on countries different anti-retroviral programmes.
In 2005, an estimated number of 24.5 million adults and children have been living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. At least two million people succumbed to the disease that left 12 million orphaned children in the continent.
Over the years, the pandemic has reduced labour supply through increased mortality and illness, declines government incomes as governments were pressured double or triple spending to control the rising prevalence.
A recent study in South Africa established that if the proportion of those in need of receiving ARVs increased to 50%, then the country's economic growth would be reduced by 17%.
The Southern Africa region has recorded the highest infection rates. However, several East and Central African countries also limp with severe and mature epidemics capable of causing high number of deaths.
Studies have shown low infection rates in West Africa. It is believed that Nigeria's AIDS population is bigger than any other African country, except South Africa.
In North Africa, Sudan has so far been badly affected by the disease.
Though condom play a key role in preventing HIV infection, cultural, social and other factors continue to hinder its use in many African countries.
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