Blog | Friday, August 8, 2008

Fighting HIV with drugs and nurses

The XVI International Conference on AIDS is being held in Mexico City this week and some studies presented there highlighted new avenues for cost-effectively combatting HIV:
  • In two African studies (reported in the Washington Post), researchers compared outcomes for HIV patients who had their care led by specially-trained nurses with a group receiving standard care from doctors. The clinical results were the same, but the nurses' patients were more confident in managing their own care and took their meds more regularly. The results aren't likely to put any of you out of a job, but may be useful in areas with severe physician shortages.
  • Of course, reducing the quantity of new HIV infections would give both doctors and nurses less to do. A new mathematical model from Canadian researchers proposes to do just that, by giving poor patients more access to HAART. The study calculated that if British Columbian health authorities could increase HAART coverage from 50% to 90%, the rate of new infections would drop by half. A convincing argument for good prescription coverage.