ART patients demand government to ensure ARV drugs supply
Due to complete negligence of both National AIDS Control Organisation and Manipur State AIDS Control Society, PLHIV had to suffer the problem of non-availability of ARV, CoNE president RK Nalinikanta alleged.
Updated 6 Jul 2022, 4:37 am
People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in Manipur have appealed to the authorities concerned to address the said problem with a feasible solution immediately while complaining about the difficulties due to non-availability of stock of second line Anti-Retroviral (ARV) Drugs since last week of April.
During a press conference at the office of Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) on Tuesday, a second line ART patient of Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) ART Centre, Thoibi (name changed) said that the state has been facing acute shortage of ARV drugs, particularly for patients who are in second line ART, since the last week of April. However, it seems the problem is still not addressed properly despite the fact that ARV is a life-saving drug for HIV patients, she said.
“Chief Minister N Biren Singh had announced the start ART home delivery system last year on World HIV Day. But, on the contrary, the state is not able to even provide the said drugs without any interruption in between and it is unfortunate that the government is not dealing seriously with the shortage issue of the ARV stock,” Thoibi lamented while informing that due to non-availability of second line ART at RIMS ART Centre, she is compelled to administer expired ARV drugs for ten days.
She continued and narrated that after consuming expired drugs, she has to continue her treatment with a regime of 1st line ART unwillingly for some days as an alternative option according to the advice of the ART centre. But luckily with the help of CoNE, she had switched to second line ART. “For the past few days, I have started following the second line ART as CoNE had provided the necessary drugs for the time being. But this cannot be the long-term solution and they cannot afford every ART client. As such, the authorities concerned should address it as soon as possible,” she added.
Mother of one of the ART clients also complained about the acute shortage of ARV drugs of second line ART. The state government had suggested self-procurement and reimbursing the amount later. But being from a poverty-stricken family, she is unable to do it and is left in a helpless situation.
People who are in the second line ART are already resistant to 1st line ART. Therefore, they are more severe and need extra care in their treatment. Many young children are in second line ART and the state government should address the problem at earliest.
CoNE president RK Nalinikanta alleged that due to complete negligence of both National AIDS Control Organisation and Manipur State AIDS Control Society, PLHIV had to suffer the problem of non-availability of ARV. NACO provided the information of temporary procurement measures to the state government only on May 5 when the state was already reeling on the issue of the non-availability. On the other hand, MACS not being able to conduct the procurement process till date is also a big mistake, Nalinikanta said.
He further said that MACS changing the regime of ARV drugs for some clients as a stock gap arrangement is very unfortunate. Is it ethically, medically acceptable to change the drug regime as a measure to address shortage issues, he questioned.
He also said that the policy of self-procurement of drugs by clients, which MACS notified, is a complete mockery to HIV patients.
First published:6 Jul 2022, 3:15 am
CoNEARTHIV drugsarv drugsHIV patients in ManipurAnti-RetroviralPLHIV in Manipurshortage of ARV drugs
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