New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) A group of HIV patients from last few days have been protesting before the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) office in Delhi over the shortage of crucial anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs at government centres recommended to control the infection from progressing.
NACO centrally procures ARV medicines for people living with HIV as per national guidelines.
India provides free ARV medicines for life-long treatment of more than 14.5 lakh People Living with HIV (PLHIV) through 680 anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centres under its National AIDS Control Programme, funded by the Government of India.
The protestors said ART centres claimed that there was a shortage of medicines at Delhi’s major hospitals such as Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
However, the sources from the Health Ministry said that there is adequate stock nationally for nearly 95 per cent HIV patients in the country, who are on first and second line ARV regimens like tablet TLD (Tenofovir + Lamivudine + Dolutegravir) and other ARV regimens.
“The mainstay of treatment for more than 85 per cent PLHIV is Tablet TLD (a fixed-dose combination of three anti-retroviral drugs — Tenofovir (300mg) + Lamivudine (300mg) + Dolutegravir (50mg)), for which there is sufficient stock nationally to last more than three months,” the source added.
Tablet Dolutegravir (DTG)- 50mg is required for nearly 50,000 PLHIV who are either on alternate –first/second or third-line regimens or those with TB co-infection.
“There is no reported stock out for any ARV drugs at the state level and the fresh supply orders for procurement of the next lot of several drugs are already placed. Individual ART centres may have this issue at times but the medicines are immediately relocated from nearby centres,” said the source from the Ministry.
The source also said that after persuasion by NACO and with active cooperation of national networks of persons living with HIV (PLHIV), four representatives of the protestors had a round of discussion with senior officers of NACO on Monday afternoon.
They were informed about the position regarding drugs availability and they were told to jointly work with state AIDS control societies and NACO for the availablity of drugs at those few ART centres which were running short on supplies, temporarily, it added.
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