Small Percentage of HIV-Positive People Who Need Antiretrovirals in Indonesia Receiving Them, Official Says
Despite a steady increase in the number of HIV-positive people receiving antiretroviral treatment in Indonesia, only about 15,000 of the estimated 200,000 HIV-positive people in the country are receiving the drugs, Samsuridjal Djauzi, chair of the Association of Indonesian Physicians Concerned About HIV/AIDS, said at a conference Friday, the Jakarta Post reports.
Speaking at the 2008 Clinical Research Meeting on HIV/AIDS in Jakarta, Djauzi said the Indonesian government has not provided enough funds to keep up with the demand for antiretrovirals, particularly imported drugs. In addition, a lack of general knowledge of the disease among some HIV-positive people also has negatively affected treatment access, he said.
According to Djauzi, most patients currently taking antiretrovirals are taking a first-line therapy -- only 5% of HIV-positive Indonesians are treated with second-line drugs. He said the country could face a supply shortage of the first-line antiretroviral Efavirenz, the only first-line therapy Indonesia imports. If such a shortage occurs, resistance to first-line antiretrovirals would increase, and the country would be forced to put more patients on more expensive second-line therapies, Djauzi said.
According to the Post, the conference is being attended by experts and physicians from community health centers, hospitals and prisons throughout the country (Maulia, Jakarta Post, 4/12).