By GABRIEL LAHOC
MOROBE Persons Living With HIV (PLHIV) say that many citizens will die, if the Health Department cannot access further supply of Anti-Retroviral (ARV) drugs.
“The news is very devastating,” one of them said.
“Also of serious concern was the emotional side effect from the knowledge that their future was at stake.
“The knowledge could evoke sadness and lead to their physical deterioration,” another said.
Several PLHIV, who were interviewed by The National at the weekend, raised concerns and wanted the National Government and the Health Department to immediately come out and at least give some assurance.
After surviving on positive living and ARV drugs for the past five years, PLWIV Rodney Mukinere, who is also the deputy chairman of Morobe provincial AIDS committee, blasted the National AIDS Council (NAC) for the “gross abuse of funds” resulting in the supply withdrawal especially from international donor agency, Global Fund.
“There are many international donors ready to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but there is very high rate of misuse of funds at the NAC,” Mr Mukinere said.
Another PLHIV and prominent Tingim Laip Incorporation volunteer, Anton Tom, who had been using the drug for the past four years, said new PLHIV were expecting their supply, and the news was bad.
“We want positive assurance from the Government immediately, as it is very unhealthy for PLHIV to be under emotional stress, especially with such bad news,”
Not all PLHIV are on ARV drugs, and those who are taking these life-saving medication said they were given their last supply last month, which would run to the end of this month.
A bottle of ARV drug contains 60 tablets, which is to be taken for a month, and is valued between K500 and K700 per bottle.
Taking over from the WHO, Global Fund which is the largest ARV supplier to PNG, recently stopped its supply into the country.