Some HIV-Positive People in Zambia Stopping Antiretroviral Treatment for Alternative Drugs, Health Official Says
Zambia's Health Deputy Minister Lwipa Puma recently said that some HIV-positive people in the country are dying from AIDS-related causes after they stop taking antiretroviral drugs in favor of other treatments that some people claim can cure the virus, the Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com reports.
Puma was speaking in Lusaka, Zambia, at the launch of a Network of Zambian People Living With HIV/AIDS policy dialogue. He said that some people in the country are paying for alternative remedies to treat HIV/AIDS despite the government's no-cost antiretroviral program. Puma added that the alternative treatments are "contributing to unnecessary deaths among those living with the virus." Network Chair Miriam Banda also urged people to adhere to their antiretroviral treatment regimens.
Puma said a recent survey in 12 districts in the country found that a lack of infrastructure is an obstacle for both health care providers and people seeking treatment for HIV/AIDS. He said the Ministry of Health has allocated money to build hospitals in four districts to increase treatment access. In addition, the health ministry is increasing efforts to ensure antiretroviral access for 52,000 adults and 8,000 children by the end of this year, the Times/AllAfrica.com reports (Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com, 4/17).