Thiruvananthapuram: The short supply of medicines at Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres and patients’ ignorance of the government’s offer to reimburse the bill if they purchase medicines from outside have resulted in many patients skipping medicines, volunteers in the field say.
Many a time the patients at ART centres, run by the Kerala State Aids Control Society do not buy the medicines, says Sandhya Sarath who works Vihaan Care and Support, an organisation for people living with HIV+ in Thiruvananthapuram.
“A month’s dose of HIV medicines cost from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000. They might just skip medicines,” she said. The medicines which were in short supply for the past couple of months were Efavirenz, Tenofivir-Lamivudine (TL), Lopinavir-Ritonavir (LR) and Ziduvudine-Lamivudine-Nevirapine (ZLN). Of them, ZL has been made available at various centres last week.
KSACS joint director Dr T. V. Velayudhan said that TL and LR have arrived. “Three months of doses arrived on Friday,” he said. “We have already despatched them to centres. No one has informed us about Efavirenz being in short supply.”
The medicines are usually supplied by National AIDS Control Organisation to State AIDS Control Societies. “If NACO does not supply, the state can procure, and if the state cannot procure, the patients can procure. It will be reimbursed,” said NACO National Programme Officer (ART) Dr B. B. Rewari. The patients can submit the bills at ARTs for reimbursement, according to Dr Velayudhan. KSACS estimates that there are around 25000HIV+ people. Of these, 10000 are on ART treatment....