More Than One-Quarter of People on Antiretrovirals in Ethiopia Have Stopped Their Drug Regimens, Official Says
More than one-quarter of HIV-positive people in Ethiopia who have been prescribed antiretroviral drug regimens have stopped taking the medications in part because of logistical issues and religious beliefs, Ygeremu Abebe, director of the Clinton Foundation in Ethiopia, said on Tuesday, Reuters Health reports. More than 40,000 of the 156,360 people prescribed antiretrovirals have stopped treatment because of "problems of transportation to hospitals," Abebe said, adding that some people have stopped taking the drugs based on comments from religious leaders in the country to stop the medication in favor of "holy water." The head of Ethiopia's Orthodox Church last year told approximately 5,000 people, many of whom were HIV-positive, that they should combine drugs with holy water, according to Reuters Health.
"Lack of awareness of serious health problems for patients who discontinue treatment could also be considered a reason," Abebe said. He added that about 20% of HIV-positive children in the country also have stopped taking antiretrovirals (Reuters Health, 6/24).