Switzerland-based Doctors Without Borders has determined human immunodeficiency virus treatments can be delivered even in settings of armed conflict.
The study suggests humanitarian health agencies shouldn't wait until a conflict is ended before launching HIV care programs.
Heather Culbert and colleagues report the results of three years' experience of providing HIV care, including antiretroviral therapy, to a conflict-affected population in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The reported treatment outcomes were similar to those in HIV projects in non-conflict settings.
"Our experience has shown us that one of the keys to successful provision of (antiretroviral therapy) in conflict settings is preparation for disruption," said the researchers.
Some of the crucial contingency measures include providing patients with extra emergency drug supplies that can be taken in case of program interruption and educating patients on the importance of not conserving their pills and trying to take them on time even during periods of instability.
The research appears in the current issue of PLoS Medicine. (c) UPI
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