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SYM: Managing co-morbidities among people living with HIV

Posted on 26/09/2022 - Category: SYM News ...

Comorbidity is the presence of acute or chronic diseases in addition to the initial disease. These secondary diseases may or may not be directly caused by the initial disease.

Both aging and HIV diminish human defense system, so the body no longer has the strength to resist chronic diseases such as high blood pressure (HTA), diabetes, heart disease, HTA + diabetes, mental handicap, epilepsy.

The presence of these comorbidities has a great impact on the patient's life, because the latter who was on daily treatment sees himself with another disease, which also requires lifelong treatment. The increase in medications to be taken often leads to non-adherence to antiretroviral treatment. There is also the risk of developing many drug side effects because of the drug interaction.

Doctor Bella NIHORIMBERE, head of the clinical service and care at SYM, indicates that in the active file of SYM, there are more than 63 cases of people living with HIV (PLHIV) with comorbidities: "The large majority of these cases of comorbidities come from the vulnerable population and who count on the support of the SYM, to have access to the treatment of these pathologies and follow-up. The more we improve HIV care; the more we increase the life expectancy of PLHIV, but unfortunately, we are faced with an increase in the number of vulnerable elderly people who require special monitoring, because the older they get, the more likely they are to develop degenerative diseases”, she insists.

In its care package for PLHIV, Service Yezu Mwiza makes home visits for these third-aged people, but there is a lack of nutritional kit to support all these needy people "if I had to advocate for these people with comorbidities, it would be regular and continuous nutritional support as well as a subsidy in the treatment and monitoring of these pathologies,” she concludes.

Non-ARV drug shelf

It should be noted that the center has screening equipment for a number of pathologies and provides medicines to treat them, although these are often very expensive. If there is a case that requires care other than what the center has, the patient is transferred to a specialized consultation for better care.