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PNG running out of anti-retroviral drugs

PNG  is running out on Anti-retroviral (ART) drugs for people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) throughout the country as revealed by an advocacy group today.

It has been reported that several clinics in the country have been treating patients with Septrin while waiting for new ART stock to arrive.

The Key Population Partnership Network Consortium are calling on the government to show some urgency in this matter of emergency as the last remaining ART drugs can only last up to a month for the whole country.

An advocator for the group Maura Elaripe said it is dangerous for PLWHA to take other drugs as substitute for ART.

“Septrin is an antibiotic and it can cause resistant to ART drugs if those patients are put back on ART,” said Elaripe

The group is also seeking answers from donor partners dealing with HIV and AIDS issues in the country on how they can assist with the situation.

Ms Elaripe also questioned the National Department of Health (NDOH) on the K5M that was allocated by the government to fight HIV and AIDS in the country.

“The health minister needs to come out and address this issue, he can’t just sit there and watch people develop resistant and die”

She said this is an emergency for the Department of Health and this issue must be prioritized in the Minister’s list of agendas.

Meanwhile the group are giving the authorities a month to purchase the ART drugs or they will protest if nothing happens within that time frame.

In response to advocators plea for ART drugs, the newly appointed Director for the National AIDS Council Secretariat (NACS) Dr Nick Dala assured the group that money will be pulled out from NACS operational funds to at least purchase some drugs that can take them up to 3 mo months while waiting for the government to come through.

It is understood that 15,000 PLWHA are on ART drugs out of 24,000 confirmed cases. PNGFM/PNG Today
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