SUPPLIES of the two first-line drugs for antiretroviral therapy (ART) have run out and there is no indication they will be replenished soon.
HIV advocate Maura Elaripe called on the media yesterday to find out why these drugs were no longer available and current users had been on alternate drugs and were developing serious side effects.
She also said people on these drugs treatment should not be dying unnecessarily but recently there had been an increase in the deaths of people living with HIV. She did not give figures
"I don’t know what is happening. I am raising this alarm for the sake of those living in the provinces,’’ she said, adding that she gets her supply from Heduru Clinic at Port Moresby General Hospital but that clinic was out of stock.
Jotely Nogone, Hope Worldwide’s HIV case officer at the Lawes Road Clinic, said that there are no Tenofovir and Lamivudine drugs supplies left in the country.
"Yes, it is true, we can change the drugs but it is not easy. It could kill a patient,’’ said Ms Nogone.
"We have been waiting for two months. We are lucky because we ordered extra," she said in relation to the last order which was about three months ago. Ms Nogone, who prescribes HIV drugs as well as counsels people with HIV, said that due to ARV treatment, people were living longer, were healthier and lived normal lives, including getting married and having children who are HIV negative.
Countrywide, there are about 30,000 people on ARV treatment, of which 250 are from Lawes Road and 5000 are registered with Heduru clinic.
Attempts to get comments from the Health Department have not been successful. Officers have referred comments to Health Secretary Pascoe Kase who is currently on leave.
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