Research

Political strife undermines HIV treatment

Displacement can be deadly

Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is difficult to maintain under the best of circumstances. War, civil conflict, and political strife displace hundreds of thousands of people, devastating therapy and allowing HIV to increase its resistance to antiviral drugs. Credit: Rami Kantor/Brown University

Among other tragedies in countries with HIV epidemics, political violence can have the additional long-term consequence of an increase in viral resistance to treatment and HIV treatment failure, say the authors of a new paper in AIDS Reviews. The researchers, who have studied post-strife treatment failure and resistance in Kenya, argue that officials and health care providers need to study and prepare for how violence disrupts antiretroviral treatment and complicates the epidemic.