From Tichafara Bepe
More than 130,000 people living with HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe have become resistant to currently available antiretroviral medicines.
Medical experts say that people can become resistant to drugs after inadequate treatment or through direct infection of a drug-resistant strain of the virus.
According to a new report on HIV and AIDS, the number of HIV-resistant patients in Zimbabwe is "too high" and has a red flag & # 39; received from the World Health Organization.
An estimated 1.3 million Zimbabweans are living with HIV and more than ten percent of them are resistant to first-line ARVs.
In its Global Action Plan against HIV drug resistance, the WHO report of July 2018, the WHO said: "HIV resistance among people who start or restart antiretroviral therapy (pretreatment against HIV drugs) increases every year after the roll-out of the antiretroviral therapy has started, "said the global health organ.
"The global action plan was introduced in 2017 after realization by the WHO that resistance to HIV medicines by patients in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased further.
"Zimbabwe is one of the countries on WHO & # 39; s watchlist of countries with a high prevalence of this strain in more than 10 percent of HIV patients."
The findings of the report show that women and children are more vulnerable to the strain of the virus compared to men.
"Children represent a very vulnerable population: half of the newly diagnosed children are infected with a virus that contains resistance to efavirenz and nevirapine (first-line ARVs)", according to the report.
"As far as women are concerned, they are twice as likely as men to have a drug-resistant HIV, which poses a significant challenge for the elimination of HIV transmission to mother and to both mother and child."
The reports also state that a timely switch from ARV & # 39; s from first-line to second-line treatment helps patients who resist resistant patients to suppress their viral load.
Second-line HIV treatment costs 24 percent more than first-line treatment. Sunday Mail.