HIV-Positive People in Indian State Experience Limited Access to Second-Line Antiretrovirals
Some HIV-positive people who are in need of second-line antiretroviral treatment in India's Gujarat state are facing long waiting periods to access the drugs at the state's only center offering the treatment, the Indian Express reports. A limited supply of the drugs means that the treatment center at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital is administering second-line treatment only to people who officials define as being in serious need, creating a waiting period for many HIV-positive people across the state, according to the Express.
The state is following the guidelines of the National AIDS Control Organisation, which established criteria for selecting people to receive second-line treatment, according to the Express. Pradeep Kumar, additional project director with the Gujarat State AIDS Control Society, said that there is a limited supply of and a funding shortage for the treatment, adding that the government allocates 100,000 rupees -- or about $2,000 -- annually for each HIV-positive person in the state. According to GSACS, there are more than 8,000 HIV-positive people registered with the government who are receiving first-line antiretroviral treatment at centers around the state. Of this population, at least 3% need second-line treatment. The Express reports that a majority of these people cannot afford treatment at private hospitals and that second-line regimens can cost up to 10,000 rupees, or about $200, monthly. "Most of the patients registered with us barely make a living of" 2,000 rupees, Manisha Saduke, a member of Gujarat State Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said, adding, "A treatment at private hospitals is out of the question for them" (Basu, Indian Express, 1/30).