MSF briefing on fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) of antiretroviral drugs
If recent initiatives to scale up antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in developing countries are to succeed in reaching the poorest and most vulnerable people at the community level, several key issues must be addressed. Chief among these is the need to simplify and standardize treatment protocols so that people with HIV/AIDS can access treatment, even in areas where there are few hospitals, few doctors, and few laboratories .
Fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) of ARVs – that is, pills containing two or three AIDS drugs in one tablet – are widely recognized as being a key element in efforts to scale up AIDS treatment in developing countries. FDCs are recommended in the World Health Organization (WHO) treatment guidelines and several generic FDCs have been pre-qualified by WHO (see below).
Based on its own experience delivering ARV treatment in resource-poor settings, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has become a strong advocate of triple FDCs. MSF is currently providing ARV treatment to more than 11,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in over 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, and expects the total number of patients on ARVs to reach 25,000 in 25 countries by the end of 2004.
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