HIV is developing a growing resistance to drugs in sub-Saharan Africa, and that has researchers worried, the BBC reports. Scientists found a 29% increase in drug resistance per year in East Africa, while Southern Africa saw a 14% increase, they say (compared to zero change in resistance levels in the rest of the continent and Latin America). Without quick action, the shift "could jeopardize a decade-long trend of decreasing HIV/AIDS-related illness and death in low- and middle-income countries," notes a UK researcher.
The problem stems from sufferers not sticking to their medication regimes, he adds. Better monitoring as well as improved access to drinking water and food could help fix the problem. "We do expect to see drug resistance, and it's at around 10% in the UK and US. But here, we monitor people regularly," says the researcher. And while countries like Britain can offer alternative treatments if one doesn't work, such options aren't easily available to sub-Saharan Africans, notes an activist.