Stock out of ARVs takes toll on HIV patients

The shortage of ARV drugs in some health facilities in the country is taking a toll on people living with HIV/Aids with some already developing multi life threatening illnesses.

As the country counts down to commemoration of the World Aids Day on December 1, there are concerns that if the situation is not rectified, achieving an HIV/Aids free generation by 2030 shall remain a pipe dream.

Okwir Chris is still coming to terms with the death of his 14 year old son who passed away two weeks ago because he could not get access to ARVs.

His son was born with HIV/AIDS and had from his childhood, he has been on ARVS until when he was told that he could no longer continue with medication due to drug stock out.

"The first predicament was in 2005 when we had a drug stock out. When the drugs finally came, my son was given line two medication which was not only expensive but cumbersome for a child his age," Okwir said.

He said thereafter, his son developed multiple complications ranging from low body immunity and to Kaposi Sarcoma, a cancer of the skin.

He passed on two weeks ago as the helpless parents watched in disbelief.

Kaposi Sarcoma remains one of the most common cancers among people living with HIV.

Sylvia Auma a medical management supervisor, Lira district,  said some of the the ARVs they have in stock have expired.

"The National Medical Stores delivers drugs about to expire, for example the ones delivered to us in Lira all expire next month," she said.

Dr Fred Sebisubi, the principal pharmacist in the ministry of Health said government spends about Shs 800 million to burn expired drugs, including ARVs.

With over 1.5 million Ugandans living with HIV/AIDS the stock out of ARVS drugs has raised concerns whether the country should be implementing the Test and Treat Method when even the few people on ARVS cannot access them.


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