ARV treatment helps to increase lifespan

2020-03-18 06:01

ARV treatment has increased the life expectancy of those living with HIV from 53 to 66 years. This is according to findings by the non-profit organisation Witkoppen Clinic, which is based in Johannesburg.

Despite strides made, Jean Basset, director at the clinic, said worrying though was that many patients default on treatment and stop taking medication for several reasons.

To encourage adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), the clinic has teamed up with the Department of Health and the Anova Health Institute launching the 2020 Welcome Back campaign, aimed at educating South Africans about their options when it comes to ART.

“Moving, relocation and housing instability are some of the main reasons that patients stop ART. Others reported stopping for reasons related to the treatment itself – they felt tired of treatment, experienced ART side effects, started to feel better or did not believe ART would work.

“In some communities, a fear of disclosing their HIV status and experiencing stigma also acted as barriers to treatment,” said Basset.

Basset encourages patients to take ARV treatment. “Taking ARV treatment, which is only one pill a day, keeps you healthy and significantly reduces your risk of developing HIV-related complications. Sticking to your ARV treatment also lowers your chances of passing HIV on to others,” said Basset.

“To benefit from ART, patients must take at least 95% of their treatment as prescribed. In South Africa, where more than four million people are on ART, this level of adherence is seldom achieved because patients are not always able to access treatment on a long-term basis. Chronic medication can be collected from private pharmacies and other places outside of the clinic.”

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