Editorials 13.10.2018 09:40 am

ARV shortage shows government is playing with lives

Early antiretroviral treatment after diagnosis of HIV infection significantly reduces the likelihood of getting AIDS or other serious illnesses. Picture: AFP

Early antiretroviral treatment after diagnosis of HIV infection significantly reduces the likelihood of getting AIDS or other serious illnesses. Picture: AFP

Yet again, our government lurches from crisis to crisis with ‘firefighting’ management the order of the day.

So, the National Department of Health believes it has “reassured” its patients living with HIV/Aids that the shortage of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) will end by the middle of next month.

The problem is, some of those who are dependent on ARVs might not have the grace of a month. Some have been on the life-prolonging drugs for more than a decade and there is a real possibility that they will relapse if deprived of them.

Some of those we spoke to this week told us they feared that, even if they did not die within the next month, the ARVs might not work in their bodies once treatment was resumed. This would lead to kidney or heart failure, they believed.

Whether or not they are correct, the reality is that the shortage of ARVs has been allowed to develop through yet another instance of government mismanagement, although a worldwide shortage of some of the active ingredients in the medicines has played a role.

Yet again, though, our government lurches from crisis to crisis with “firefighting” management the order of the day.

In this case, the lives of some of the most vulnerable people are on the line.

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