Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a retrovirus that often leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in humans, is a condition where the immune system gets damaged paving the way for life threatening infections. Though there is no permanent cure for HIV, antiretroviral drugs help control the level of HIV in the body and prevent them from spreading fast, thereby letting the immune system recover and stay strong. It also stops HIV being from being passed on. For this reason, antiretroviral drug is extremely important for pregnant or breastfeeding women with HIV, as otherwise they might pass on the virus onto their offspring.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO) around 17 million HIV afflicted people are dependent on antiretroviral drugs and around 2 million started taking it in 2015. WHO also says that seven in 10 pregnant women who have HIV receive antiretroviral treatment.
Massive Sub Saharan Market Remains Untapped due to Expensive Treatment
HIV treatments, besides the antiretroviral drug, mostly comprise of dietary modifications and symptomatic relief of physical conditions seen at the onset of AIDS. But such therapeutic treatments are expensive and require constant supply of energy compounds on a daily basis. As a result, developing and underdeveloped regions which are home to maximum number of HIV patients, continue to reel under the impact of the malady. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, has most number of HIV patients. Being one of the poorest region of world means that most people are unable to afford treatment. To help out, companies these days are trying to reach out to the needy in such places cheaper drugs costs.
WHO Warns of Growing Risk of HIV Drug Resistance
In one of its recent reports, the WHO raised concerns about growing HIV drug resistance (HIDVR) seen in patients. It found out that up to 2010, HIVDR levels remained a moderate 7% in developing nations. However, recently, in some countries it was found to be at or above 10% amongst those people who have just started HIV treatment, and up to 40% in those who had resumed treatment. Such reports warrant routine implementation of nationally representative HIVDR surveys and proper solutions.