Survey shows prevalence of diarrhea in people living with HIV

Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Napo), a human health company developing and commercializing novel gastrointestinal prescription products from plants used traditionally in rainforest areas, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jaguar Health, Inc. (Jaguar), today released the results of a survey of 350 people living with HIV and AIDS on "Talking to Your Doctor About Symptoms". The nationwide survey was sponsored by Napo and developed with input from HIV advocates Tez Anderson, Josh Robbins and David Duran.

The survey shows diarrhea remains prevalent in those living with HIV/AIDS, as 27 percent of respondents living with HIV/AIDS reported that they currently have diarrhea, while 56 percent reported that they have had diarrhea in the past. In addition, 79 percent of those with diarrhea reported having diarrhea for more than a year, and 61 percent reported having diarrhea for more than five years. Interestingly, while 72 percent said their doctor asked them about symptoms in general, only 31 percent said their doctor asked about diarrhea without them bringing it up first.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Long-term HIV survivors (individuals who have lived with HIV for 10+ years) have a higher prevalence of diarrhea, with 32 percent reporting they currently have diarrhea. In addition, 61 percent of long-term survivors reported suffering with diarrhea for at least five years.
  • Of people living with HIV (PLWH) who have had diarrhea, less than half said their doctor asked them specifically about diarrhea.
  • 30 percent of those currently experiencing diarrhea said they never discussed diarrhea with their doctor and/or reported feeling that the doctor dismissed or "blew off" their issue with diarrhea. Of all survey respondents, 19 percent who have ever experienced diarrhea said they never discussed diarrhea with their doctor.
  • Only one percent of survey respondents who currently have diarrhea reported being told by their doctor about Mytesi® (crofelemer), the only drug that has been specifically studied in and FDA-approved for symptoms of diarrhea in people living with HIV.

Tez Anderson, Founder of Let's Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome), commented on the survey results: "That so many PLWH reported being asked about general symptoms, but not about diarrhea, is troubling. After living with diarrhea for decades, I think long-term survivors accept it as a fact-of-life, and they don't bring it up with providers. It's important that PLWH inform their doctors it is an issue and to ask for non-opioid based treatment."

"These results demonstrate that chronic diarrhea continues to be a substantial complaint of HIV/AIDS patients, and particularly in the growing group of long-term survivors," stated Lisa Conte, Jaguar's president and CEO. "Diarrhea can have a severe negative impact on PLWH, and we are striving to ensure that people living with HIV and their healthcare providers are aware of, and have access to, Mytesi, and that they are effectively communicating about HIV/AIDS-related diarrhea."

To view the full report of the survey results click here:

Launched by Napo in October 2016, Mytesi is the only antidiarrheal studied in and U.S. FDA-approved for the symptomatic relief of noninfectious diarrhea in adults living with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Mytesi is a prescription treatment for diarrhea that works differently, by acting locally in the GI tract to normalize the flow of water. Mytesi does not have drug-drug interactions with ART and has side effects that are similar to placebo.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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