Inter Press Service Examines Issue of HIV-Positive People in Kenya Selling Antiretroviral Drugs To Buy Food
The Inter Press Service on Friday examined how some HIV-positive people in Kenya are selling their antiretroviral drugs to buy food. Some people register at more than one treatment site so they can obtain extra drugs, which they then sell, Patricia Asero, a member of the Kenya Treatment Access Movement, said. She added that some HIV-positive people who get their antiretroviral drugs from a single treatment site sometimes sell their medications to buy food. These trends have raised concerns about drug-resistant strains of the virus developing in Kenya, the Inter Press Service reports. More than 200,000 of the roughly two million HIV-positive people in Kenya need antiretroviral drugs, according to the Inter Press Service. The government says the number of people receiving the drugs has increased from 24,000 in 2004 to 39,000 in 2005, and the government expected to have 95,000 people on antiretroviral drugs by the beginning of this year, the Inter Press Service reports. Omu Anzala, a senior lecturer in the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Nairobi's School of Medicine in Nairobi, Kenya, said the government should be less concerned with the number of people receiving antiretroviral drugs and focus more on the "quality and sustainability of the service." Anzala said, "These numbers mean nothing when the majority of the patients are skipping or selling drugs," adding, "The fight against HIV/AIDS must be coupled with the fight against poverty." Anzala called for the increased monitoring of HIV-positive people on antiretroviral drugs, as well as monitoring for drug-resistant strains of the disease. Other advocates in Kenya have called for the government to focus more on nutrition in its HIV/AIDS programs (Mulama, Inter Press Service, 6/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.