Baltimore Sun Examines Antiretroviral Drug Delivery Initiative in Baltimore; Program Expanding to Africa
The Baltimore Sun on Friday examined an antiretroviral drug program in Baltimore that is expanding to sub-Saharan Africa to help assure drug adherence among HIV-positive people and prevent antiretroviral drug resistance. The University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology, which delivers antiretroviral drugs to more than 100 HIV-positive people in Baltimore, is among a consortium that received a $335 million, five-year federal grant to deliver antiretrovirals to Africa and the Caribbean. Specialists from the institute work with local health care workers in Malawi and Nigeria to assure that HIV-positive people in those countries adhere to antiretroviral regimens to prevent the development of drug-resistant viruses. The problem of antiretroviral drug resistance -- which can occur if a patient misses doses of a treatment regimen -- is "more acute" in Africa, according to the Sun. To help African patients maintain drug adherence, doctors from the institute educate village leaders and families about treatment and the need to reduce stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, which has led some people to avoid being tested for the virus, according to the Sun. Health care workers also visit the homes of HIV-positive people to ensure that patients are taking all of their medications and that family members and friends stay involved in patients' treatment plans. In Baltimore, 141 residents are enrolled in the institute's program, and a study released in September showed that 82% of the patients were completely adhering to their treatment regimens (Bor, Baltimore Sun, 11/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.