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HIV treatment successes lead to new challenges, opportunities in confronting chronic disease

From Science Speaks: “Every continent has seen the success of [anti-HIV efforts] in dropping numbers of new infections, dropping rates of death from the disease, and longer productive life spans. The new issue of JAIDS is the product of an effort to measure and respond to the other side of those successes: rising rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancers, liver disease, mental illness and substance abuse—illnesses that can become more and more consequential common with age, with exposure to toxic ART, and in immune systems inflamed or suppressed by HIV.

They are illnesses that will increasingly challenge health systems in low and middle income countries, and call for new responses, authors of the 8 articles and 2 commentaries within the edition write, but at the same time, those responses can benefit from groundwork already laid in HIV responses.

Like responses to HIV globally, the edition shows, approaches to chronic diseases in low and middle income countries will need to be informed by and responsive to the environments and their conditions that affect the illnesses.

That includes different symptoms and degree of stigma attached to depression and other mental disorders, lack of technology to screen for and treat cancers, and the impacts of TB, pollution and the continuing use of the inexpensive but toxic ARV stavudine or d4T in low income countries. The response to HIV has offered lessons in the value of integrated care, as well as strengthened training, research capacities and drug supply chains. Successes against HIV, the issue highlights, are just a beginning.”

Barton A. Science Speaks. 14-08-2014.
Source: www.unitaid.org

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