HIV Treatment, Education Programs Must Be Adjusted To Avoid Drug Resistance, Editorial Says
A study presented at the International AIDS Society's 2nd Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment in Paris last week provided "alarming" evidence of the growing prevalence of drug-resistant HIV strains, a development that should cause scientists to "adjust treatment and education programs," a New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial says (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 7/21). The study found that nearly 10% of the 1,633 newly infected patients studied were resistant to at least one antiretroviral drug, and 1.7% were resistant to two or more of the drugs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/16). In response to such findings, doctors and researchers should consider "reserv[ing] some drugs for highly specialized purposes, rather than prescribing them to large numbers of patients for life and thereby risking the development of resistant strains," according to the Times-Picayune. In addition, scientists should develop "stricter guidelines" for the prescription of antiretroviral drugs, the editorial says. However, the "burden of preventing the spread of [HIV] isn't only on" the scientific community; the spread of drug-resistant HIV means that some HIV-positive people have not "taken adequate precautions" to prevent HIV transmission to other people, according to the Times-Picayune. Therefore, both HIV-positive and HIV-negative people need to "take precautions" to avoid transmitting drug-resistant HIV strains, the Times-Picayune says, concluding that education to encourage behavioral changes "remains crucial" (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 7/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.