Children with Fewer Resources get a Less Effective HIV Treatment
A large scale study has revealed that children between the ages of 3 and 16 fare better taking the HIV drug efavirenz than nevirapine. The study included over 800 HIV positive kids. The problem is that efavirenz, the more effective of the two drugs, is the less used drug in countries where the disease is most prominent. Unfortunately, most of those infected kids live in underdeveloped lands, and that is why they receive the inferior treatment.
Over 3 million kids around the globe have HIV, and more than 9 in 10 of those are found in sub-Saharan Africa, where government resources are limited. WHO is recommending both of the aforementioned drugs as a first attack on the disease when children are involved. This would involve a worldwide change in care, as efavirenz is far more expensive and less readily available than nevirapine.
The fact is that regardless of the cost, nevirapine gets better results in kids – thus it calls on agencies to assist in making the drug more readily available to underprivileged children who are infected with HIV in resource-limited nations. This process is already in effect with adults, who also react better to nevirapine.
Bulk orders for low resource countries may be the key to getting enough of the drugs to the right places at the right price. Non-government agencies are being called upon to assist in making this a more viable option for these millions of needy children.
The nation of Botswana is a fine example of a low-resource nation that has worked hard to provide better treatment options for citizens with HIV, by being involved in clinical studies. They have also provided a great deal of research on other diseases like tuberculosis. Thus, the nation has actually helped to improve health for not only their own citizens, but those of the entire world.