Elderly AIDS Population Increases


BMI View: We believe that more accurate, timely statistics on AIDS will improve the Argentinean government's planning process for reducing the heavy burden of this infectious disease . The government's increasing focus on the importance of prevention programmes will help to allocate scarce public resources in a more cost-effective manner. We see limited financial benefit for pharmaceutical companies operating in Argentina. The market has become increasingly unappealing due to the prolonged period of rampant inflation.

According to Argentina's health ministry, there has been an increase in the number of newly infected AIDS patients above 45 years old. Carlos Falistocco, head of the ministry's office on AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, said this segment of the population has not typically been targeted by awareness campaigns on how to prevent and treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The health ministry reported that one in five AIDS patients in Argentina are over 45 years old. This is significantly higher than the 7% rate prevalent 10 years ago. The government plans to launch specific campaigns targeting this group to increase awareness of the disease. According to infectious disease researcher Patricia Patterson, 'half of the older generation do n o t know they have AIDS and are diagnosed only after they are already very ill.'

In recent years, the number of new AIDS cases in Argentina has remained stable at around 5,500 per year. However, it is estimated that as many as 40% of those infected have not been tested. Sexual transmission remains the most common cause of new infections: 90% of new cases are contracted through unprotected sex. According to ministry figures, there are 110,000 people living with AIDS in Argentina, of whom 2,900 die each year (estimated in 2009).

BMI 's Burden of Disease Database ( BoDD ) indicates that 5.5mn disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were lost to all diseases in Argentina in 2011, and 0.1mn DALYs were lost to HIV/AIDS. This accounted for 46.3% of the country's i nfectious disease burden. Males between 15 and 44 years old had the highest DALYs among all the age groups, which could partially explain the reason why elderly AIDS patients have been neglected in the HIV/AIDS related programmes previously .

15 -44 Age Group Has The Highest Burden
Argentina - HIV/AIDS Burden In 2011

The main financial resource for HIV/AIDS programmes is Argentina's national treasury. Among the current financial assistance programmes is the Public Health Essential Functions and Priority Programmes (PHEF) project, financed through a World Bank loan. The country does not rely significantly on foreign donations, except for resources from the Global Fund - which ended in 2008. According to reports from World Health Organisation (WHO), the country's deteriorating economy has a limited negative impact on HIV/AIDS programmes. The reduction of resources available for the National AIDS Programme has had a greater impact on prevention programmes. Diagnostic, treatment, care and support activities have not, so far, been significantly affected.

Despite this, we highlight that Argentina's economy is entering a highly turbulent period as 2013 approaches. We anticipate a further reduction in funding for HIV/AIDS programmes, which will have a significant impact on AIDS patients who are among the most vulnerable groups in society. We believe that the increase of preventative action will help to bring the disease under control, and reduce demand for future resources so that infected people can be assisted.

This article is tagged to:
Sector: Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
Geography: Argentina, Argentina, Argentina, Argentina