HIV patients protest against shortage of ‘Antiretroviral’ drugs

Imphal, Feb 20: A group of people living with HIV (PLHIV) on Monday protested in Imphal demanding that the problems faced by them due to non-availability of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) drugs be addressed.

The PLHIV protested at Nongmeibung in Imphal East district under the aegis of Imphal East Network of Positive People (IENP) with the support organizations like Community Network for Empowerment (CONE), Kripa Society, Care Foundation, Manipur Network of Positive People (MNP+) and Social Awareness Service Organization (SASO).

The protesters highlighted the problems being faced by PLHIV due to frequent non-availability of the second line ART drugs and demanded a permanent solution to address repeated ART stock out issues.

“Do not deny the life of the PLHIV,” said IENP secretary, Kangabam Anandi Devi who talked to the media during the protest.

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She alleged the problem of ART drugs shortage is a regular problem despite the fact that the state is recorded amongst high prevalence rate of HIV and AIDS in the country,

She demanded that the state government come up with a definite policy to solve the issue permanently before it is too late.

While saying that ART drugs are the life-saving drugs of the PLHIV, she said non-availing the drugs at the right time is a denial of their right to life.

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Anandi also talked on the problems created by the irregular use of the drugs. She said that as per National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) adherence to ART regimen is vital as any irregularity in following the prescribed regimen can lead to resistance to HIV drugs. It will eventually weaken or negate its effect.

As many as 13,688 PLHIV are currently on antiretroviral therapy (ART) which the state government supplies the drugs from 13 ART centres. Of these, 13106 are on 1st line, 575 on 2nd line and seven of them are on 3rd line ART treatment.

Earlier too, the problem of ART shortage cropped up, but it did not last long. However, this time, PLHIV faced the non-availability of the drugs starting June 2022.


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