Asia Kids Show AIDS Drugs Resistance

2 December 2011

HONG KONG — Teenagers in Asia receiving treatment for HIV are showing early signs of osteoporosis and children as young as five are becoming resistant to AIDS drugs, an anti-AIDS group said on Thursday, urging more attention be given to young HIV patients.

The finding, made available on World AIDS Day, is a reminder that while more people in Asia now have access to basic AIDS drugs, improved medicines remain out of reach and patients — both adults and children — still suffer from inadequate care.

In Asia, some 160,000 children are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. Of these, 57,000 require treatment but only 30,000 were receiving it as of the end of 2008, according to UNICEF.

Researchers at TREAT Asia found children as young as 5 were developing resistance to AIDS drugs and may soon require improved, more expensive medicines, which are not available for them yet.

“In our cohort, about 14 percent of the children have failed first-line drugs … Some of the children who are already on second-line are under the age of 5,” Annette Sohn, director of TREAT Asia, told Reuters in a phone interview.

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Asia kids show AIDS drugs resistance