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Medical News & Perspectives
July 10, 2002

Cheaper HIV Drugs for Poor Nations Bring a New Challenge: Monitoring Treatment

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JAMA. 2002;288(2):151-153. doi:10.1001/jama.288.2.151

As efforts to make anti-HIV drugs more affordable and available in developing countries are beginning to pay off, medical experts say it's time to address a related challenge: Even while more patients are receiving the life-prolonging therapies, the tests and equipment needed to monitor the effects of their treatment are out of reach.

Tests that clinicians in wealthier countries consider standard of care, particularly those used for determining when to initiate drug therapy or whether a therapeutic regimen is failing to suppress viral replication, are rarely available—too complex for most laboratories in resource-poor countries to perform, and too expensive for most patients.

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