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Rational Choices for Allocating Antiretrovirals in Africa: Treatment Equity, Epidemiological Efficiency, and Feasibility

PLoS Medicine (Impact Factor: 14). 04/2006; 3(3):e160. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030160
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    ABSTRACT: The emergence of drug resistance in treated populations and the transmission of drug resistant strains to newly infected individuals are important public health concerns in the prevention and control of infectious diseases such as HIV and influenza. Mathematical modelling may help guide the design of treatment programs and also may help us better understand the potential benefits and limitations of prevention strategies. To explore further the potential synergies between modelling of drug resistance in HIV and in pandemic influenza, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Mathematics for Information Technology and Complex Systems brought together selected scientists and public health experts for a workshop in Ottawa in January 2007, to discuss the emergence and transmission of HIV antiviral drug resistance, to report on progress in the use of mathematical models to study the emergence and spread of drug resistant influenza viral strains, and to recommend future research priorities. General lectures and round-table discussions were organized around the issues on HIV drug resistance at the population level, HIV drug resistance in Western Canada, HIV drug resistance at the host level (with focus on optimal treatment strategies), and drug resistance for pandemic influenza planning. Some of the issues related to drug resistance in HIV and pandemic influenza can possibly be addressed using existing mathematical models, with a special focus on linking the existing models to the data obtained through the Canadian HIV Strain and DR Surveillance Program. Preliminary statistical analysis of these data carried out at PHAC, together with the general model framework developed by Dr. Blower and her collaborators, should provide further insights into the mechanisms behind the observed trends and thus could help with the prediction and analysis of future trends in the aforementioned items. Remarkable similarity between dynamic, compartmental models for the evolution of wild and drug resistance strains of both HIV and pandemic influenza may provide sufficient common ground to create synergies between modellers working in these two areas. One of the key contributions of mathematical modeling to the control of infectious diseases is the quantification and design of optimal strategies, combining techniques of operations research with dynamic modeling would enhance the contribution of mathematical modeling to the prevention and control of infectious diseases.
    BMC Public Health 02/2007; 7:300. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-7-300 · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The prognostic value of CD4 counts and RNA viral load for identifying treatment need in HIV-infected individuals depends on (a) variation within and among individuals, and (b) relative risks of clinical progression per unit CD4 or RNA difference. We reviewed these measurements across (a) 30 studies, and (b) 16 cohorts of untreated seropositive adults. Median within-population interquartile ranges were 74,000 copies/mL for RNA with no significant change during the course of infection; and 330 cells/microL for CD4, with a slight proportional increase over infection. Applying measurement and physiological fluctuations observed on chronically infected patients, we estimate that 45% of population-level variation in RNA, and 25% of variation in CD4, were due to within-patient fluctuations. Comparing a patient with RNA at upper 75(th) centile with a patient at median RNA, 5-year relative risks were 1.4 (95% CI 1.2-1.7) for AIDS and 1.5 (1.3-1.9) for death, without change over the course of infection. In contrast, for a patient with CD4 count at the lower 75(th) centile, relative risks increased from 1.0 at seroconversion to maxima of 6.3 (4.4-8.9) for AIDS and 5.5 (2.7-10.1) for death by year 6, when the population median had fallen to 300 cells/microL. Below 300 cells/microL, prognostic power did not increase, due to a narrower CD4 range. Findings support the current WHO recommendation (used with clinical criteria) to start antiretroviral treatment in low-income settings at CD4 thresholds of 200-350 cells/microL, without pre-treatment RNA monitoring--while not precluding earlier treatment based on clinical, socio-demographic or public health criteria.
    PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(6):e5950. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0005950 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Financial shortage in resource-limited and poor countries restricts treatment in HIV-infected patients especially in poor countries. Higher HIV prevalence in poorer countries makes drug rationing a real concern. Different countries solve the problem with different methods regarding WHO guidelines, but fairness and equity should be a major consideration in drug rationing. This paper is aimed at reviewing different strategic approaches to drug rationing in AIDS treatment and then discusses pharmacists' role. In conclusion, there is no fair and equitable strategy, and in each society, cultural, ethical and socioeconomic issues along with considering a critical role for pharmacists must be taken into account.
    03/2010; 3:1.

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