Journalist Liz Clarke tests her blood at a laboratory to check her HIV status.

Cape Town -

HIV-positive men in SA are presenting much later for treatment and are much more likely to die than HIV-positive women who are receiving similar treatment, an international study has revealed.

Published this week in the journal PLOS Medicine, the researchers caution that the differences in the death rate are most likely to be due to sex differences in death rates in the general population and unrelated to HIV.

However, the fact that the men presented late also played a role in some cases. They found that the men are a third more likely to die.

The research collaboration, led by the University of Cape Town, analysed data from 46 201 adults who started taking antiretroviral therapy between 2002 and 2009 in eight HIV treatment programmes in SA.

The study was initiated to urgently evaluate the outcomes of SA’s ARV programme in order to improve delivery of services, with a particular interest in sex differences.

The researchers acknowledged that the reasons for men’s late entry into ART programmes were poorly understood.

An alternative explanation is that men’s primary health care needs might have been neglected. - Health-e News Service