Over 13,000 HIV/AIDS Patients In Limbo As Manipur Runs Out Of Antiretroviral Therapy Drugs

Nearly 13,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the northeastern state of Manipur are in a precarious situation with life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) out of stock since April. ART increases the number of immune cells in the body and decreases the number of virus cells. It involves taking a combination of HIV medicines (an HIV treatment regimen) every day.

According to News18 sources, the State AIDS Control Society (SACS) was unable to purchase the essential drug and kept a buffer stock under the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) for six months.

The dire situation was first highlighted by representatives of the NGOs Manipur Network for Positive People (MNP+), CARE Foundation, Social Awareness Service Organization (SASO) and Kripa Society.

NACO would previously supply the drugs. However, Manipur SACS has been given the responsibility from the fiscal year 2022-23.

Thousands of affected patients

This current situation has drastically affected more than 13,000 ART patients in the state and affected the adherence aspect of ART consumers‘, says MNP+ chairman L Deepak to the media.

Hijam Dinesh, president of the Kripa Society, said authorities are neglecting the matter, despite repeated appeals.

“If the concerned authority does not heed the calls without immediate steps or arrangements, the lives of more than 13,000 people would be at stake.‘ said Jotin Thangjam, secretary of the Care Foundation.

The current situation has put enormous pressure on the service providers and staff in the ART centers, especially in JNIMS and RIMS ART Center, a center of excellence in the state, with a large amount of patients seeking help and asking questions about the reason. for the unavailability of ART, EastMojo reported.

Manipur has nearly 13 ART centers that provide ART drugs to nearly 13,000 patients.

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