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A recent study conducted by pharmacist and researcher Tony Antoniou found that the antiretroviral drug known as cART helped reduce the hospitalization rate of patients in Ontario who had HIV, which can be detected with a blood test.
During the study, Antoniou analyzed data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. He found that women with HIV and low-income residents with HIV have 15 percent and 21 percent higher hospitalization rates, respectively, than men and high-income patients, which he attributes to those sub-groups having more difficulty obtaining the medication.
"Although our study is overall a 'good news' story for persons with HIV in Ontario, the differences in rates of hospitalization over the past decade suggest that women and low-income individuals living with HIV may face challenges accessing medication and community-based care," said Antoniou.
He also noted that there needs to be universal access to HIV medications and that further investigations need to be done to reveal what causes the disparities in access to medications between different genders and income level populations.
According to the World Health Organization, antiretroviral treatments are comprised of at least three different drugs, which are used to inhibit the progression of the HIV virus. Since the introduction of the drug therapy, AIDS-related deaths have declined significantly, reports the source.
When two or more drugs are taken with one another, it is referred to as combination therapy, while three or more HIV drugs taken together is sometimes called Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, according to Avert.org. The kinds of drugs that a patient takes hinges on the drugs' availability, price of medication, number of pills and side effects of the drugs.
HIV drug therapies can be divided into two chronological categories: first and second line treatments. First line treatments are the drugs given at the onset of therapy. If the patient's virus develops a resistance or has bad side effects, he or she will switch to a different regimen, which is the second line treatment.
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