Success in HIV treatment at risk as strike curbs access

2010-08-27 00:00

THE current strike could place the success of the recent gains in HIV and Tuberculosis treatment at risk, said the SA National Aids Council (Sanac) yesterday.

Sanac deputy chairperson Mark Heywood said that, with 5,5 million people living with HIV in the country and over one million currently on chronic HIV medication, the impact of failing to ensure an uninterrupted flow of medication to those reliant on the public health system will be seen for years to come.

“We are receiving reports that patients on chronic anti-retroviral (ARV) and TB medication are facing increasing challenges in getting access to these life-saving medications.

“Sanac acknowledges the right of health workers to take part in industrial action. However, we are concerned that persons who are reliant on the public health sector for medical care are being turned away, and in some cases intimidated, when presenting themselves for re-stocking of their medication.

“A break in the continuity of both ARVs and TB regimens has serious implications for both the individuals and the treatment programmes. It increases the chances of patients becoming drug resistant, a challenge that South Africa cannot afford,” Heywood said.

Sanac is working with stakeholders to help patients at risk of not accessing chronic medication to get advice and guidance as to where their medication is accessible.

If you need help with ARVs phone the Sanac Nerve Centre at 012 395 9078/9, or 012 395 9081/7/8/9 or 012 395 9090 to be directed to your nearest centre.

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