UNAIR NEWS – In 2017, Bali was ranked sixth for provinces with the most HIV patients in Indonesia. According to Ni Luh Ayu Megasari, two regions with the highest number of HIV patients in Bali was Denpasar in South Bali and Buleleng in North Bali.
“Those two regions have different characteristics. South Bali is crowded with foreign tourists while in North Bali, they’re rarely seen, mostly are the locals,” said the member of HIV research team from Institute of Tropical Disease (ITD) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR).
Based on the research result, despite being less visited by foreign tourists, the researcher still found HIV patients resistant to antiretroviral (ARV) medication about 10%. Four out of forty patients were found resistant.
According to the WHO, that 10% is categorized as moderate, while when it reaches 15%, it is categorized as high.
“One of the things we always fear, the more patient infected by the HIV, the more people who resistant,”
If the patient is resistant to ARV treatment, the drugs given cannot work optimally. Thus, the number of viruses that should be suppressed will grow. As a result, the patient’s condition can quickly deteriorate and the infection become AIDS.
Not only did the research, after conducting tests and examinations on HIV patients and found 10% resistant patients, the team provided the results of the examination to the attending doctors. Hopefully, the doctors can provide more effective ARV drugs for patients so the treatment works well.
Apart from resistance tests, there are other types of tests for HIV patients. Such as CD4 testing and viral load. The CD4 test is a type of test used for a patient’s immune examination. Viral load tests are used to check the amount of virus in the blood and resistance tests are used to see the patient’s resistance to ARV drugs.
“Because in Indonesia resistance and viral load tests are quite expensive, patients usually do CD4 testing because the price is more affordable,” explained Ni Luh.
After conducting the research, Ni Luh hoped to build public’s awareness that HIV-related testing, especially resistance testing is important to do. So, if possible, patients are expected to not only do CD4 tests but also resistance tests so that the drugs given are truly effective.
Author: Galuh Mega Kurnia
Editor : Khefti Al Mawalia
Reference : Megasari, N. L. A. et al., 2019. Genotypic Characterization of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Isolated from Antiretroviral Treatment-Experienced Individuals in Buleleng Regency, Bali, Indonesia. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, pp. 1-15.