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Monthly medicine supply for 700 HIV patients in Mumbai takes a hit

Authorities blame logistics, say shortage would end by Dec 31

mumbai Updated: Dec 28, 2018 00:51 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,HIV patients in Mumbai,Maharashtra District AIDS Control Society
Second line drugs are given to patients who have not benefited from the first line medicines.(HT File )

For the third time in a year, the city is facing a shortage of second line of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment drugs, inconveniencing more than 700 patients.

Second line drugs are given to patients who have not benefited from the first line medicines. This month, patients got the supply only for a few days.

The Maharashtra District AIDS Control Society has blamed it on the delay of shipment of medicines from manufacturers.

Dr Srikala Acharya the head of the Maharashtra District AIDS Control Society (MDACS), said the issue is likely to get resolved by December 31.

A 29-year-old HIV patient from Jogeshwari, who has been taking the second line antiretroviral therapy (ART) since 2015 at Sir Jamshedjee Jeejeebhoy (JJ) Hospital, Byculla, said there has been a shortage of drugs for a week now.

The therapy suppresses the virus and stops the progression of the disease.

It also prevents the onward transmission of HIV.

“The doctors at JJ hospital gave me the Lopinavir drug for five days. They said the drug is out of stock due to which they cannot give medicines for the entire month,” he said.

Another HIV patient, a 45- year Kurla resident, who is on second line therapy since August last year, said the hospital staff made him wait for six hours for the drugs, after which they gave him medicines that lasted only for five days.

“Earlier, when there was a shortage, I would stop taking medicines because it was too difficult to visit the hospital every five days,” he said.

“HIV drugs are procured by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in New Delhi who then supply it to the states. However, we are trying to purchase the drugs locally,” said Acharya.

Manish Bamrotiya from NACO said the shortage has only been reported in the city and not elsewhere. He said the shortage is due to issues related to the logistics of supplying the medicines.

Doctors said if patients don’t get the drugs on a regular basis, the viruses could multiply.

First Published: Dec 28, 2018 00:50 IST