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HIV Mortality declining in India due to Generic Antiretroviral therapy drugs

Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), has reported that the survival rate of patients infected with HIV has risen dramatically due to availability of affordable generic drugs in India. //India has the second highest number of patients with HIV positive next to South Africa. In India due to availability of cheap generic drugs which has reduced the cost of Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) drugs to more than 20 fold.

The ART generic drug was introduced in India during 2000 and the price of HIV drugs fell from $778 per month to $100 per month, and eventually declined even further to just $33 per month in 2003. Before 2000, due to high cost of ART drugs, more than five million HIV-infected people living in India have been unable to obtain treatment due to the high cost. Prior to 2000 only 22% of HIV positive patients could afford ART drugs which has risen to 44% of patients getting ART drugs from 2003 and the affordability is rising.

Opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis, a common problem for immunocompromised patients, occur at a much lower rate in those receiving ART and its highly active drug HAART. The best part of generic drug is that in India the HIV related drugs have been reduced to more than 80% from survey done between 1997 and 2003.

Dr. Nagalingeswaran Kumarasamy of YRG Centre for AIDS research when discussing about the side effects produced by ART therapy such as rash, nausea, diarrhea, headache and anemia he said, "No. Benefits of HAART outweigh the toxicities, based on our experience in our patients due to availability of cheaper drugs encourages patients to undergo screening and treatment for AIDS”.

Source: Indo-Asian News Service

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