Kenyan Government To ‘Sharply Increase’ Provision of Antiretrovirals
The Kenyan government on Friday announced plans to make antiretroviral drugs available to 40,000 of the country's HIV-positive individuals by 2005, a "shar[p] increase" over the 7,000 HIV-positive individuals currently receiving the drugs, Reuters/New York Times reports (Reuters/New York Times, 4/26). The program, which will cost approximately $14.6 million per year and will be funded by the government and aid agencies, will be administered in 15 government hospitals. Kenneth Chebet, director of the country's National AIDS and STD Control Programme, said that the country previously focused primarily on HIV prevention, including programs to advocate safe sex. However, he said that because 50% to 60% of hospital beds in the country are currently filled with HIV-positive patients, government officials are "now looking at issues of treatment and access to therapy." Because 50% of Kenyans live on less than $30 per month, many of the country's 2.2 million HIV-positive individuals cannot afford combination antiretroviral treatment, which costs about $40 per month, according to Christa Cepuch, a pharmacist with Doctors Without Borders, Reuters reports (Reuters, 4/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.