Nearly half of newly diagnosed infants in 10 countries have drug-resistant HIV, a WHO report has found.
HIV drug resistance is on the rise, with the number of people virus being treated with antiretrovirals having risen to 27.5m, an annual increase of 2m, reports The Guardian.
Four out of five countries with high rates had been successful in suppressing the virus with antiretroviral treatments, according to the World Health Organizationʼs HIV drug-resistance report, but according to the study, there had been an increase in countries reaching a 10% threshold of resistance to a class of drugs which, the WHO said, underlined the need for an alternative treatment, which it has recommended since 2019. Resistance exceeding the 10% threshold was reported in 21 of 30 countries surveyed.
Switching from non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors was particularly important for children, with nearly half of infants newly diagnosed carrying drug-resistant HIV, according to surveys in 10 sub-Saharan African countries.
The WHO said robust monitoring of drug resistance was key to ensure suppression of the virus did not wane. It said 64% of those countries had plans to monitor and tackle drug resistance, adds The Guardian.
WHOʼs director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urged countries to
use antimicrobials therapy responsibly to ensure effectiveness.
“Antimicrobials – including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics – are the backbone of modern medicine. But the overuse and misuse of these is undermining the effectiveness of these essential medicines,” he said.
According to the report, countries achieving high levels of viral suppression increased from 33% in 2017 to 80% by the end of 2020, which the WHO said prevented transmission and deaths from HIV and slowed the emergence of drug resistance.
WHO’s HIV Drug Resistance Report
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