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For women with HIV, daily life can hinder the fight against viruses

FRIDAY, May 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) – The daily fight prevents many American women taking HIV drugs to suppress the AIDS-causing virus, a new study shows.

"Surviving is a priority over placing a pill in your mouth for some of our participants, and that is the public health challenge that we need to address," said Dr. lead research author. Seble Kassaye, an associate professor at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC

"The truth of their lives is a lot less rosy than a few lines of statistics can reveal in a summary," she added in a press release from a medical center.

The study of nearly 2,000 HIV-positive women in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and San Francisco that have been followed since 1994 has shown that many have been able to control their HIV levels.

But ongoing challenges such as mental health, unstable housing and lack of social support prevent many people from achieving effective and sustainable HIV suppression, according to the authors of the study published in the journal on May 17. JAMA Network Open.

The women were interviewed and gave blood samples every six months to determine whether their HIV was well controlled or uncontrolled, a condition called viremia.

In 23 years, 29% were low in the risk of viremia; 39% had an average chance; and 32% had a good chance.

Between 2015 and 2017, 71% of women achieved long-term HIV suppression, including 35% with a high risk of viremia, the researchers said.

"So the rosy picture is that 71% of women have achieved viral suppression, but the detailed detail tells us that some women are doing very well with 89.6% of women in the low probability of viremia being consistently suppressed in the recent years, but others are still struggling to get viral suppression, "Kassaye said.

Because current treatment with HIV drugs is much less toxic than before and is now being suggested for everyone who has the virus, it is being used on a large scale. But obstacles remain.

The study found that women in the group with high viremia reported more often depressive symptoms (54%) and used higher levels of illicit drugs (41%) and alcohol use (14%). They also had less chance of stable homes (66%); and more likely to die prematurely (39%).

Kassaye said that public health problems and stigma surrounding HIV are still common in Washington, D.C.

"My colleagues have treated generations of HIV-positive women: grandmothers, their daughters and their granddaughters," she said. "I have seen women with HIV who have no support whatsoever, but if that person gets cancer, there will be a room full of people coming to the clinic with her."

Achieving universal HIV treatment and viral suppression requires what is known as "surrounding" care, she said.

This is a term for non-medical services to help patients who may need help with taking medication regularly, making appointments on time or dealing with stress. This safety net can also help with housing, transportation, childcare and the like, according to the global health strategy agency Rabin Martin.

More information

The American Office on Women & # 39; s Health has more about HIV / AIDS.

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