Why are HIV patients poorer in the Western world than France?

HIV patients in Western countries receive lower proportion of the antiretroviral therapy doses routinely given to people with HIV a new study by researchers from the University of Western Ontario and the Saint Louis University found.

The findings were published in PLOS Medicine a journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Researchers opted to look at ethnic group and geographic factors for better control of HIV infection. They looked at the geographical distribution of hospitalization for HIV in and outside of transplant hospitals in 32 Western countries.

Since the medications used to treat HIV recipients are very different from those treated in transplant it was an important aim of our study to see if the treatment would be available at more than 50 of the hospitals usual treatment budget in these countries. We found no difference in mortality or new cases of HIV infection says Laband Altafaj a researcher with the Mucosal Division of Staphylococcal Bacteria and Immunology with the University of Western Ontario and the Department of Dermatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

The researchers say this should benefit patients on technical and patient cohorts currently receiving hospital medications for HIV to reduce costs and may lead to better medication adherence and use of minimally invasive therapies for managing HIV infection.

Altafaj adds that in some Western countries surgical procedures such as superannectomy and condoms are not routinely used to treat HIV patients. Patients are faced with a high risk of surgical complications after surgery and may not know if they should consider using condoms to treat this infection he explains.

Efforts to raise barriers to HIV treatment HIV eradication and staff training have helped save tens of millions of lives over the past seven decades but this study did not examine potential barriers to HIV treatment HIV eradication and staff training.

Fiveteen countries were included in the study known as Category 1 2 and 3. Category 1 ranked 3 includes members of the four most active countries in the World Bank model spectrum – Canada United States Britain and Russia. Category 2 ranked 2 includes members of the five lowest-performing countries Brunei Chile Colombia South Africa and Thailand. Category 3 ranked 3 includes members of the 11 most inactive countries.

Altafaj says the study could not rule out the possibility that some countries exist in a low risk Category 1; however it would need randomized controlled trials in the design and implementation that are needed to assess the impact of sex differences in interventions.

It is too soon to say whether HIV treatments would be available in Category 1 or not. Since treatment allocation is so crudely driven by an initial donor choice it would not be surprising that many patients with HIV would be offered also to use condoms says Altafaj.