Do HIV positive people combining ARVs with immune boosters, traditional herbal medicines or vitamins experience viral resistance and treatment failure than those taking ARVs only?
Shweni, Nomakula Noluthando
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―HIV and AIDS is one of the main challenges facing South Africa today. It is estimated that of the 39.5 million people living with HIV worldwide in 2006, and that more than 63% are from sub-Saharan Africa. About 5.54 million people are estimated to be living with HIV in South Africa in 2005, with 18.8% of the adult population (15-49) affected. Women are disproportionately affected; accounting for approximately 55% of HIV positive people. Women in the age group 25-29 are the worst affected with prevalence rates of up to 40%. For men the peak is reached at older ages, with an estimated 10% prevalence among men older than 50 years. HIV prevalence among younger women <20 years seems to be stabilizing, at about 16% for the past three years.‖(HIV/AIDS AND STI Strategic Plan for South Africa for 2007-2011) The South African Strategic plan is to reduce morbidity and mortality by providing treatment and care and support to 80 % of those infected by 2011. With the Sub Saharan region faced with lots of challenges namely – migration which is presumed to increase the spread of the disease stigmatisation which still prohibits the voluntary testing leading to late discovery of those infected Lack of proper leadership by the various states in the Sub Saharan region– which delays the proper rollout of ARVS , It seems as if this plan is easier said than done. People from this region have always believed in alternative medicines like traditional medicines, medicinal herbs and would start at that route first before using antiretroviral drugs or might even combine them. My interest in this study is to see the uptake of these alternative medicines whilst using antiretroviral therapy and what effect is displayed in the users.