Even though HIV doesn’t pose a great threat to human lives anymore as it was some years back, its prevalence continues to hang on the necks of the population at large especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The number of people living with HIV in Nigeria has increased from 1.9 million since 2016 to 3.1 million in 2017 with a little reduction in the number of new infections from 220,000 to 210,000, as well as AIDS-related deaths.
Nevertheless, a small proportion of these people are being treated on the antiretroviral therapy- 34% of adults and 26% of children respectively. This number needs to increase considerably if we wish to work towards an HIV-free future.
Research also shows that, 76% of people on ART have achieved viral suppression and that for every 10% increase in treatment coverage there is a 1% decline in the percentage of new infections among people living with HIV.
For us to see more of these results, it is paramount that people living with HIV adhere to their treatment plans. It is very important for people to understand that ARVs are only effective when taken correctly. otherwise, patients build up drug resistance the drugs become ineffective.
Achieving the 90% viral suppression goal for all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will only be possible if people living with HIV adhere to their ARV medications.
Adhering to The ARV treatment can be a struggle sometimes since they are taken orally in the form of a combination of tablets every day.
But, it so far the best solution to reduce the risk of HIV transmission and managing the virus effectively to achieve viral suppression, where HIV-positive people are unlikely to transmit the virus as their viral load becomes undetectable and also to help them live long, healthy, productive, normal lives.
A plausible solution to this issue of non-adherence will be to use an application for medication reminder on smartphones. In recent years, there has been a thrive in the use of smartphones and the internet in Africa; it is becoming easier for the population to access all the features that come with a smartphone.
MyTherapy is a medication and health tracker app that can be used by people living with HIV. The app is downloadable for free on both iOS and Android; it is a useful and practical tool that encourages and helps its users to take their medication dutifully.
The main purpose of the app is to promote adherence by consistently reminding users to take their medication until they have done so, nevertheless, it also comes with a variety of useful features, such as a measurement and symptom tracker, where users can monitor how they are feeling and responding to their treatment. Additionally, the app also has a lab-values feature which can help HIV-positive patients track their viral load and CD4 count which they can later download in the health Report feature and discuss with their doctors.
HIV/AIDS has claimed so many lives in the past decades and now, there have been quite some remarkable breakthroughs -the rate of infections and deaths have fallen drastically, which implies that ARV medications working well; people are preventing HIV through pre- or post-prophylaxis.
Also with the impressive new happenings where pregnant women with the HIV virus are able to give birth to HIV-free babies thanks to the ARV therapy.
Accordingly, the take home message is that, as long as ARV medications are taken properly and responsibly, with the help continuous research, then Africa and the world at large will continue to see a reduction in the virus’ incidence, prevalence and death rates – indeed there’s hope for an HIV-free future!

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