June 14, 2017

SA’s new HIV challenge: patients who believe they’ve been healed

Written by Cynthia Maseko

This post originally appeared on IOL.

Johannesburg – On the eve of South Africa’s national AIDS conference taking place in Durban this week, it has emerged that people are defaulting on their ARVs – often under the impression that they have been healed.
Healthcare workers have discovered that HIV patients on treatment sometimes stop taking their medication in the mistaken belief that they have been healed – despite knowing the disease is incurable – and thus posing a renewed risk to others.

According to health workers Health-e News spoke to, the issue relates to the “undetectable viral load” diagnosis patients receive when their antiretroviral therapy starts working and causes the amount of virus in their blood to drop to an extremely low level.

People who are informed of the “undetectable viral load” result when they go for testing are quick to jump to the wrong conclusion that the virus is no longer in their blood, that they are therefore no longer sick and no longer have need for treatment – and then default on their treatment.

Read the full story here >>