MORE than 1500 people living with HIV in Madang have been receiving expired antiretroviral therapy (ART) medication since March, an advocate has revealed.
HIV advocate with Igat Hope Maura Elaripe was in Madang last week to conduct advocacy training for people living with HIV and invited stakeholders when she discovered expired dates on the label of the medication those in Madang were receiving.
The ART treatment called the Lopinavir supplied through the Idinad HIV/AIDS Clinic in Madang was the second and last line of treatment.
Elaripe said the drug would not be effective on those people since they were out-dated which posed a serious threat.
“Madang is sitting on a time bomb because the drugs they are getting here are not resistant anymore because they are expired,” she said.
“There is no third line treatment too, the ones they are getting now is the second line treatment and is final.
“The third line treatments in other countries are very much expensive which our government cannot afford to order.”
Some of those people attending said had been experiencing changes like strong coughs.
Elaripe said those affected used to get four of the drugs daily, two in the morning and two in the evening which keeps their immune systems active.
According to Elaripe, the government was funding the treatment since 2010 and stopped in 2016 when it decided to decrease HIV funds.
The government’s allocation for HIV treatments and programmes was K15 million at that time but dropped to K4.9 million this year.
“The K4.9 million is for buying drugs for three months’ supply for the whole country,” Elaripe said.
Elaripe said the Lopinavir drugs were donated by the Indian government and since then Madang didn’t receive new drugs.
PNG has an estimated 25,000 people (reported) living with HIV, 17,000 are on treatment and while 37,000 (unreported) are estimated to be affected but not receiving treatments. The National
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