The demonstration of people infected with HIV continues due to lack of medicines

The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) held a meeting in this regard and ensured the supply of medicines to the people protesting at its premises.

Officials said Thursday that the new batch of drugs is being supplied quickly and will be transported immediately to places where they are needed most.

However, the protesters say they will continue the strike until “all HIV patients in India start receiving medication for one month”.

Protesters allege that certain drugs are not available to children living with HIV and that most patients are forced to take other drugs. He said that if the drugs are not available in the coming weeks, it could lead to serious health problems for HIV patients.

Official sources said that since the day the dharna began at NACO’s Chandralok office premises, officials are in constant touch with the protesters.

“In today’s meeting, the NACO director assured the two representatives of a significant improvement in the fresh supply of ARVs, which are being expedited and airlifted to priority locations,” an official source said.

The source said the dharna, however, has not been called off yet.

Health ministry officials had earlier said that there is enough stock of all ARV drugs at the state level and fresh supply orders have been placed for the purchase of the next batch of various drugs.

He said that sometimes this problem can happen in ART centers but the medicines are sent immediately from the nearby centers.

The government recently told the Lok Sabha that India has sufficient stock of ARV drugs nationally for about 95% of people living with HIV.

According to the Outlook report, HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. There is no cure for HIV. It cannot be removed from the body. This can be prevented to some extent with antiretroviral drugs.

HIV is well preventable with antiretroviral therapy and life expectancy is almost the same as that of a person who is not HIV positive.

If left untreated or stopped midway, then HIV can progress to AIDS, which is the third and final stage of HIV infection.

According to news agency PTI, one protester said, “We have been protesting since July 21. People have started falling ill due to the heat and outside food. We were here as prisoners on August 15. All India was celebrating Independence Day but we were here.The building and toilets were closed.We had to go down to the ground floor for basic amenities.

NACO Additional Secretary and Director General Alok Saxena said the organization will continue to listen to the voice of the community and believes in the culture of working collaboratively with them to design and implement the strategies outlined in the National Program of AIDS Control.

He urged the protesters to end the sit-in, especially as their demand for distribution of ARV drugs for at least a month at a time is met. He also said that since NACO is a government office, the protest over the weekend would not serve any purpose.

Sources said he also appealed to the protesters’ representatives to trust the system, end the dharna and vacate the NACO premises.

Protesters had earlier said a drug called the “backbone” of HIV drugs has been unavailable since April.

A protester told news agency PTI, “Dolutegravir 50 mg is the backbone of the National AIDS Control Program and has been unavailable since April at almost all individual antiretroviral therapy centers in the country.” We have written several letters to the state AIDS control society NACO and the health ministry mentioning the shortage of this life-saving drug, but no action was taken. Apart from this, there is also a shortage of another medicine.

Another of the protesters had said, “The government claims there is enough stock at the national level for about 95 percent of the HIV-positive people in the country.” So according to this figure, 5 percent of the 13,88,000 people affected by HIV are not receiving life-saving drugs.

(with input from the language of the news agency)

Categories: special from India

Tagged as: Antiretroviral drugs, ARV drugs, HIV drugs, HIV drug shortages, HIV patients, HIV patients protest, HIV positive, HIV positive people, Human immunodeficiency virus, NACO, National AIDS Control Organization AIDS, News, The Wire

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