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Eficiency, feasibility of antiretroviral therapy in Africa demonstrated in IRD-coordinated surveys

Three-quarters of all people hit by HIV live in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is vital therefore that antiretroviral treatments, available and effective in industrialized countries, can be used for patients in Africa. Several enquiries, coordinated by the Institut de Recherche pour le Dveloppement (IRD) are bringing proof that such treatments are both effective and feasible in several African countries.

Two main types of argument are often voiced which hold back development and adoption of antiretroviral therapies in developing countries:

uncertainty surrounding their biomedical efficacy, given the diversity of the HIV strains existing in Africa, the strong spread of the disease and possible viral resistance to drugs ;

the difficult social and economic situations: the high cost of medicines and inadequate health systems in most of the countries concerned. Public and government campaigns are for that reason often based solely on preventive measures (supposedly more cost-effective), the possibility of using antiretroviral therapies disregarded, which in any case raises serious ethical problems.

The Barcelona Conference on Aids is being held from 7 to 12 July. Many IRD researchers and their Senegalese partners are giving papers (see abstracts further on). The French National Agency for Aids Research (Agence nationale de recherches sur le sida, ANRS) are running a press information point about access to antiretroviral therapy.

A Franco-Senegalese research team have published in the June 2002 issue of the journal AIDS the result obtained so far, 18 months into a pilot scheme being conducted in Senegal. The experiment is the first to lift doubts surrounding the effectiveness and tolerance of antiretroviral therapies in Africa. It uses now-standard tritherapy regimes. Dr Ibrahima Ndoye of the Senegal National Committee for Aids Control (Comit national de lutte contre le sida du Sngal ) and Prof Eric Delaporte of the French lnstitut de
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Contact: H. Deval or B. Robert
deval@paris.ird.fr
33-48-03-75-19
Institut de Recherche Pour le Dveloppement
10-Jul-2002


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