As of 2007 there were an estimated 2.5 million new cases of HIV infection worldwide, however the UNAIDS estimates that the number of cases has remained level since 2001; recent reduction in the number of infections is attributed to natural trends of the infection itself as well as an increase in the number prevention programs leading to behavioral changes (Harrison’s, 2008). Since the initiation of and the widespread use of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) in 1995-1996, there has been a marked decline in the number of patients affected by AIDS-defining illness as well as an improvement in the quality of life (Harrison’s, 2008).
The cornerstone of prevention of transmission and decreasing the prevalence of AIDS- defining illness is through education, counseling, and behavior modification (Stryker, Coates, DeCarlo,Haynes-Sanstad, Shiver, & Makadon, 1995). Examples of programs that aid in behavioral modification include: access to health and social services, free condom distribution, as well as needle and syringe exchange programs for IV drug abusers (Stryker, Coates, DeCarlo,Haynes-Sanstad, Shiver, & Makadon, 1995).
One of the most important factors in reducing the number of AIDS-defining illnesses is a strict adherence to anti retroviral therapy, as poor adherence can lead to resistance to drugs for the patient but also the development of multi-drug resistant strains that can be spread through transmission. Patient education on the proper use of medication relies mainly on the health care provider. Even with proper education on the use of the drugs, health care professionals can aid patients by incorporating the drug regimens into a daily schedule, for example timed pill dispensers, alarm clocks, and having someone else act as a reminder (Mehta, Moore, & Graham, 1997).
Braunwald E., Fauci, S., Hauser S., Jameson J. Kasper D., Longo D., Loscalso J. (Eds.). (2008). Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (17th edition) New York. McGraw Hill Medical.
Mehta, S., Moore, R., Graham, N. (1997) Potential factors affecting adherence with HIV therapy. AIDS.11 (14) 1665-1670
Stryker, J., Coates, T., DeCarlo, P., Haynes-Sanstad, K., Shriver, M., Makadon, H. (1995) Prevention of HIV infection: looking back, looking ahead. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 273(14): 1143-1148 doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520380079039.