14 year Sandrine is one of the many HIV orphan here. Unfortunately medication was not available to reduce the transmission of the virus from mother to child at that time. Sandrine lives with her grandmother who is taking care of several grandchildren, a common occurrence. Sandrine started on HIV medication 5 years ago and has had ongoing problems taking her medications on a regular basis. Her CD4 count rose from 39 to 519 after her first year of treatment and since then it has been on a steady decline with it now being 9. Failure to take her medication on a daily basis resulted in the development of resistance of the HIV virus in her body, i.e. the medication is no longer effective. Rather than growing Sandrine has lost 16 pounds and literally is mostly skin and bones.
We discussed placing her on our second line of medication last year but it was felt she needed to become better at her medication compliance before starting her last chance medication. In Cameroon we have only 2 medication combinations unlike in Western Countries where over 50 are available. Sandrine starts her new medications today and we all will do our best to encourage her compliance. In addition we hope that additional medications will become available in the future.