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PLHIV protests ‘stock out’ of ARV drugs

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Dimapur, October 30: Registering strong resentment for repeatedly putting them at risk by failing their ARV treatment, around 70 PLHIV communities in Dimapur staged a protest outside the ART Centre, Dimapur demanding a revamp in the supply of ARV medications.
In spite of the drug in question – Atazanavir/Ritonavir being re-located to Kohima ARTC, the PLHIV community was not pacified since it was not sufficient as it was only supplied with 10 bottles which do not meet the requirement of the client load.
This is not the first incident that the PLHIVs have staged such protest but the “complete and repeated stock out” of crucial ARV drugs compelled them to take such drastic step after all forms of negotiations with DAPCU, NSACS and NACO proved futile, said the protestors.
Displaying slogans such as “We demand ARV buffer stock”, “HIV/AIDS act 2017, do you mean this when you say ‘as far as possible”?, “what is 90-90-90 without ARVs”?, “will you take responsibility for AIDS related deaths’?, the PLHIV demanded to sort out the stock out mess once and for all.
Even while the protest was happening, it was learnt that none of the authority from the AIDS programme of Dimapur and NSACS provided any sort of intervening measures nor met the agitating group.
Ketho from ARK Foundation said, “Such repeated stock outs put PLHIV on ARVs at risk of developing drug resistant. And even if they resume taking their drug after it is replenished, it doesn’t make any sense, since they will be taking a drug that will not work anymore in helping to suppress their Viral Load. It is like issuing a death certificate to them in advance”.
Ketho sought the need for the AIDS council to intervene not only in terms of ARVs drugs but also on the issue of improper CD4 machine and the lack of a viral load machine in the State.
Unless these systems are corrected, the prevention and control of HIV in the State can never happen and would be a mockery to the 90-90-90 target of UNAIDS which says that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, the protesting PLHIV said.
By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression, said the UNAIDS target. (Page News Service)

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