Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 22

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering the following questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) at the end of this Module.

SAQ 22.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 22.1 and 22.2)

Is the following statement true or false? Explain your answer.

‘There are effective ARVs to treat HIV, and a vaccine which cures HIV/AIDS. But these treatments are not available in Ethiopia.’


The statement is false. Even though effective treatments to control HIV exist now, there is still no cure for HIV/AIDS anywhere in the world, and no vaccine to prevent it.

SAQ 22.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 22.1, 22.2 and 22.3)

Which of the following statements is true? For each false statement, explain what is incorrect.

A  ART can completely eliminate HIV from the human body.

B  The two main goals of ART are to reduce the number of CD4 cells, and eradicate the virus from the blood.

C  Two ARV drugs are combined in the most effective treatment for HIV.

D  All of the above statements are false.


The answer is (D). All of the statements are false because:

A  ART cannot completely eliminate HIV from the human body.

B  The two main goals of ART are to reduce the number of viruses in the blood to a very low level (they cannot be eradicated by current treatments), and to increase the number of CD4 lymphocytes as much as possible, to boost immunity.

C  Combining only two ARV drugs is less effective than treating HIV with a combination of three ARV drugs from different groups.

SAQ 22.3 (tests Learning Outcomes 22.3 and 22.4)

Explain why a combination of three ARV drugs will be more effective at stopping the multiplication of HIV in the human body than two drugs, or one alone.


One ARV drug can slow down the fast rate of new HIV production in the body, but two drugs acting at different points of the multiplication cycle can slow it further, and three drugs together have an even more powerful effect. This is because ARV drugs from different drug groups attack the virus in different ways. HIV would have to make several different changes in its structure in order to develop resistance to all three drugs.

SAQ 22.4 (tests Learning Outcome 22.2)

Is the following statement true or false? Explain your answer.

‘One of the major benefits of ART is to make the patient feel healthy and to enable him or her to practise unsafe sex, because the treatment stops HIV from being passed on.’


That is absolutely wrong! HIV can still be transmitted from a person on ART to an uninfected sexual partner if they practise unsafe sex. Remember that ART does not cure HIV/AIDS.

First read Case Study 22.1, and then answer the question that follows it.

Case Study 22.1  Abebech’s story

Abebech is a 47-year-old female who is HIV-positive and living in your village. She started on ART two weeks ago at a nearby health centre. While conducting a household visit you find that she has nausea and has been vomiting one or two times per day since the start of ART. The vomiting occurs several hours after eating. Upon checking her medication you learn that she is taking AZT + 3TC + EFV. She can eat food, and has no fatigue.

SAQ 22.5 (tests Learning Outcome 22.4)

What advice should you give to Abebech, and why?


First, start by reassuring Abebech that nausea and vomiting are common side-effects of most ARV drugs, especially in the early weeks of treatment. Then advise her to take the drugs with food, and drink plenty of fluids. Tell her that if the vomiting worsens, she should go back to the health centre for further assessment and management.

Summary of Study Session 22