What are the treatment options for HIV infection?
Q: I am really confused about anti-AIDS or anti-HIV drugs. There are so many new discoveries and so many companies making them in India. I am interested in knowing more about these. Last time I heard was a claim by CIPLA that they are providing these drugs at Rs 1000 per patient per month. I have my close relative in India who is HIV infected and I would like to know the average cost of treatment in India and what kind of drugs are available. Could you please help me in this regard?
A:I am not surprised you are confused about the treatment of HIV infection. It is a confusing picture with new advances at a rapid rate and with the drugs available in the market increasing weekly in India. I am afraid I cannot answer your question about costs because the actual treatment chosen depends upon many factors that the treating physician must consider. Keep in mind that the laboratory tests needed with some treatment regimes cost a great deal of money and so the drug cost is not the only criteria. Please also remember that even if the patient cannot afford the best regime, it does not mean that no treatment can be given as there are many compromise regimens available. These days ARV treatment is generally not advised unless the CD4 cell count goes below 200, or the disease is showing signs of advanced disease. In general however the treatment options in India are wide and a fraction of the cost in the west.