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[procaare] HIV prevention in developing countries

  • From: ProCAARE <procaare@usa.healthnet.org>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 12:00:18 -0500 (EST)

HIV prevention in developing countries
[AIDS-INDIA] (10.31.02)

BMJ Study Looks at Providing Health Services for HIV-Positive People in Developing Nations

Universal access to comprehensive health services is needed in developing countries to
effectively fight HIV/AIDS, and these services must include HIV prevention, testing and
counseling programs; antiretroviral treatment; and diagnosis and treatment of
opportunistic infections, according to a study published in the Oct. 26 issue of BMJ.
Researchers from the University of Washington Center for AIDS and STDs and the MacColl
Institute for Health Care Innovation analyzed research on HIV programs and other health
services provided in developing nations.

The study cites the World Health Organization strategy for chronic disease care as a model
that could be followed in managing HIV infection in resource-poor settings, although the
authors note that HIV is more complex and requires more expertise on the part of providers
than many chronic conditions. Continuity of care in homes, communities and medical
facilities is also important, the study states, adding that effective communication and
referral services are needed to link primary care providers with HIV specialists.

The study also recommends integrating HIV counseling and testing services into existing
programs such as prenatal care and family planning programs. The study states that
providing effective health services for HIV-positive people in developing nations could be
based on a "building blocks" approach that combines elements of the WHO strategy with more
customized services based on the resources and providers available in the area. Countries
can begin by providing basic services and then provide additional services as resources
increase, the study states.

Implementing these strategies will require funding and political will, and the study
concludes that a "policy environment in which all sectors of society play a part in
addressing the AIDS epidemic is crucial for success"
(Kitahata et al., BMJ, 10/26).

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