Thursday, December 2, 2010
10:34 AM James Manuel 2 comments
Another problem is that the drugs are not easy to administer. Many pills must be taken daily, at specified times. If they are not taken correctly or if the medication routine is interrupted, this could lead to the development of drug-resistant strains of HIV. It is difficult to ensure adherence to correct dosages in African conditions, where there may be little food, a low supply of clean drinking water, and few medical facilities.
Further, those taking the drugs must be monitored. If resistance develops, their combination of drugs must be altered. Experienced medical staff are needed for this, and the tests are expensive. Also, the drugs do have side effects, and drug-resistant strains of the virus are developing.
In June 2001 at the UN General Assembly special meeting on AIDS, a Global Health Fund was proposed to assist developing countries. It was estimated that an amount of between $7 billion and $10 billion was needed. Total pledges for this fund have so far been way short of the targeted amount.
Scientists entertain strong hopes of finding a vaccine, and various ones are being tested in different countries. Even if these efforts are successful, it will be several years before a vaccine has been developed, tested, and proved safe for general use.
Some countries, such as Brazil, Thailand, and Uganda, have had notable success with treatment programs. Brazil, by using locally manufactured drugs, has halved the AIDS-related death rate. The small country of Botswana, which has the financial means, is making efforts to provide antiretroviral drugs to all in need in the country and is striving to provide the essential health-care facilities.