Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Harpal Rawat
Illustrator: Chetan Bhakuni
It is not a secret that HIV is one of the most dangerous viruses that not only affects an individual physically but it also affects them mentally. In such a situation, medicine plays a key role in our fight against the virus.
What if these medicines are not easily available?
There has been a shortage of Antiretroviral drugs, the medicines against HIV, for the past 5-6 months. With no option left in front of us, we decided to protest outside the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) in Delhi.
"I am HIV-positive and have been taking medicines since 2017. For the past 5-6 months, there has been a shortage of medicines. Some time back, we used to get medicines for 15 days, but now, we are getting medicine for 3 days, or 5 days, or a week. We have been facing this problem for a long time. We wrote several letters and e-mails to raise this issue but that turned out to be of no help to us."AIDS Patient
The shortage of medicines is acute in the states like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, and Uttarakhand. Since 10 July, even in Delhi, there are shortages of medicines.
We have been demanding from NACO to provide us with a sufficient amount of medicines but they say that the medicine should be easily available to us by the end of August since the earlier tender they floated couldn't be materialised.
"Authorities in NACO are not giving us any solution. They say that their tender wasn't cleared and it got cancelled and they requested time till August-end. But I want to know why are they asking time till August, at the time when we are protesting outside their office? Why didn't they start this process earlier? If their tender was cancelled what is our fault? Were they not aware that there will be a shortage of medicine?"AIDS Patient
It is our humble request to NACO, please provide us with the medicines whenever there is a shortage of medicine. As soon as we receive our medicines, we will thank NACO and stop our protest.
In a written response to The Quint, NACO admitted that there is a temporary shortage of medicines at Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres.
"They (protesters) were told to jointly work with state AIDS control societies and NACO for the availability of drugs at those few ART CENTRES which were running short on supplies, temporarily," read the response mail.
Further, it added, "there is adequate stock nationally for around 95% people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the country who are on 1st & 2nd line ARV regimens like Tablet TLD (Tenofovir, Lamivudine, Dolutegravir) & other ARV regimens."
Contrary to the claims of the protesting HIV patients, NACO said ARV (Anti Retroviral) drugs were not out of stock and the fresh supply orders for procurement of the next lot of several drugs have already been placed.
(This story was first published on 28 July 2022. It has been updated and republished with NACO's response to The Quint.)
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)