National ART supply to continue

National, Normal


THE anti-retroviral treatment (ART) that people living with HIV (PLHIV) depend on to help live healthy lives, will continue to be given despite the country missing out on the Global Fund round nine grant this quarter.
Global Fund director for Asia, Dr Swarup Sarkar, told a press conference last week that even though the current amount of drugs would soon run out, Global Fund was confident that treatment would still be made available.
This is partly because the treatment is free and many PLHIV have access to it.
With about K200 million given for the HIV/AIDS fight in the country, Dr Sarkar said PNG had done very well with almost 6,300 people taking the first line drugs.
“Compared with Thailand, Cambodia and Laos who have done very well with their Global Fund grants, this is an achievement for PNG.
“I want to assure that Global Fund will ensure the continuity of the treatments so those receiving it need not panic if the drugs run out,” he said.
PNG country coordinating mechanism chairwoman Lady Roslyn Morauta said before receiving grants from Global Fund for the procurement of the drugs, only a handful were able to afford them with their own resources.
But now, the number had gone up to more than 6,000 people currently on treatment.
The drugs are procured through the Health Department and the World Health Organisation who distribute it immediately to clinics and other specialists.
The majority of PLHIV are on first line drug which is about K500 per patient per year.
This drug, plus a healthy diet and a loving family, is readily available and cheap and helps to maintain the patient’s immune system, adding years to their lives.
Only a handful of PLHIV are on second line drugs which are around K3,700 per patient per year.
The concern for relevant bodies involved in the HIV/AIDS campaign now is that PLHIV need to be assured that their treatment is available and that they did not have to ration their doses.