‘JJ hospital centre in Mumbai turning away HIV positive patients’

Two years ago, government-run anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centres did not provide third line of drugs. Consequently, the man had no option but to go to a private hospital.

mumbai Updated: Aug 16, 2017 16:47 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai hospitals,HIV patients

A government-run treatment centre formed at Sir JJ Hospital to provide advanced treatment to HIV positive patients for free is turning them away. Why? Because they earlier sought treatment at private hospitals, claim patients.

A case in point is a 34-year-old man, who tested positive for HIV in 2002. The man needs an advanced treatment or third line of drugs, a special combination of Darunavir, Ritonavir and Raltegavir drugs, as he developed resistance to the second line of treatment.

The cost of the three drugs for a patient is Rs1.8 lakh a year, according to an official from the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) said.

Two years ago, government-run anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centres did not provide third line of drugs. Consequently, the man had no option but to go to a private hospital. “The cost of treatment at the hospital was Rs1.5 lakh a year,” said the man.

While the Byculla centre recently launched third line of treatment, it is not allowing the 34-year-old to switch. “I can’t continue treatment at a private facility. Earlier this year, I quit my job. I have stopped treatment because I can’t afford it,” he said.

Another HIV patient, who used to work for an international NGO, said there are at least 50 patients like the 34-year-old man.

Dr Srikala Acharya, who heads the Maharashtra District Aids Control Society that launched the third line of treatment at JJ Hospital last year, said cases where a patient wants to move from a private facility to a governmen-run ART centre are being assessed by a national expert panel. “After the assessment, the panel decides if the patient is eligible for treatment at the centre,” she said.

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 16:46 IST