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New Vision
Death rate escalates due to ARVs shortage
Aidah Nanyonjo
August 30, 2009
UGANDA is likely to experience an increase in HIV/AIDS death rates following the shortage of antiretrol-viral drugs.

Dr. Stephen Watiti, the board chairman of the National Forum for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda, says most of the health facilities have reported shortage of ARVs, adding that people living with HIV will stop taking the drugs or have their drug combinations changed.

Addressing a press conference at Mengo recently, Watiti said such a situation will lead to an increase in new infections.

"Inability to access treatment, famine and reduced family earnings are making life for the majority worse than it was before the introduction of comprehensive HIV care," Watiti said.

He said over 17 HIV infected people died in Apac district due to lack of drugs and food.

"One must eat before swallowing the drugs but some people no longer take the drugs because they have no food," Watiti said.

According to Modes of Transmission Report (July 2009), 91,546 adults contracted HIV in 2008.

Watiti asked the Government and development partners to increase funding in order to avert the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Government is investigating whether it is the shortage of ARVS that led to the deaths of people living with HIV in Apac.

However, Dr. Kenya Mugisha, the director of clinical and community services says: "There is no shortage of ARVs at facility level but only at the national level because of funding."

He said the ministry had received $4.5m from the Global Fund to purchase ARVS.