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Young, Male, Childless Most Likely to Quit HIV Treatment

Update Date: Feb 20, 2014 05:56 PM EST
HIV, AIDS, Africa
HIV positive Nkosinathi Mthembu sits in the kitchen of his home in Esikhawini township near Empangani in South Africa's Kwa-Zulu Natal province. After recieving anti-retroviral and tuberculosis medication from state, Nkosinathi, who appeared close to death in October 2005, has recovered his strength and found his weight returning. (Photo : Mike Hutchings/Reuters)

Treatment is extremely important for curbing the spread of HIV. However, new research reveals that younger people, men and people without children are most likely to drop out of HIV care in South Africa. This is worrying as the African country has the world's largest HIV positive population, with one in five adults being HIV positive.

Researchers analyzed data collected in a previous study that followed 380 HIV positive people who were eligible for HIV treatment in a rural part of South Africa over a four-year period. Researchers said they wanted to understand factors that increased the likelihood of dropping out of HIV care.

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"There is a pressing need to engage young people, and men, in long-term care. Medication for HIV is only given to those who are most unwell and they need to attend clinics regularly. Failing to attend is a problem for both the health of these individuals and for the health of others whom they may put at risk of HIV infection," study author Dr. Michael Evangeli of the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway said in a news release.

"We need to improve our understanding of retention in care in future studies. Ultimately strategies must be put in place to help people remain in care and get the treatment they so desperately need to help slow down the spread of HIV and save as many lives as possible," he added.

Researchers used data from a study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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