Recipients of a long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito net.
Image © Vestergaard Frandsen/Georgina Goodwin
The need for antiretroviral therapy can be significantly delayed by the prevention of malaria and diarrhoea, Kenyan research shows.
Both malaria and water-borne diseases that can cause diarrhoea are thought to be major factors affecting HIV disease progression.
Researchers wanted to see if the distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets and water filters, used to prevent malaria and diarrhoea, delayed the need for HIV therapy.
About 600 HIV-positive people not yet eligible for HIV treatment (i.e., they had a CD4 cell count above 350 and no serious symptoms) were recruited to their study.
Approximately half of the study group was given the treated mosquito nets and water filters.
The use of these nets and filters was associated with a 27% reduction in the need to start HIV treatment.
The strategy was highly cost-effective. A mathematical model showed that if it was employed across sub-Saharan Africa, it would save US$400 million per year in HIV treatment costs.