Mumbai

Medicine stock comes to aid of HIV patients

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Stable patients don’t need to visit centre every month, can get 3 months’ course at one go

Malvani resident Vikram Shah, 29, (name changed) has been on the first line of antiretroviral medication for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) since the past four years. To collect his course of medication, Mr. Shah would visit the antiretroviral therapy (ART) centre in Kandivali every month. But as his condition has stabilised, Mr. Shah can now benefit from the multi-month dispensation, where patients can get a course of three months at one go.

“Visiting the ART centre every month would mean either taking a day off or logging a half-day. It was also an added travel expense,” said Mr. Shah, who works for a private company.

Mr. Shah got his first three-month course in October. He will now visit the centre at the end of December for a follow-up and further medication.

Experts say implementation of the multi-month dispensing initiative will help in continuation of treatment in patients who may be prone to dropping out. It is allowed only to patients who are stable with low viral load and high CD4 cell (cells that get killed by HIV) count and have no opportunistic infection, an infection caused by pathogens like bacteria or virus, or adverse reaction to drugs. “The out-of-pocket expenses of patients is a major concern. Multi-month dispensing also helps in retention of patients in treatment,” said Dr. Lokesh Gabhane, Joint Director of Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society. Project director Tukaram Mundhe has laid focus on community-based screenings and index testing, which involves reaching out to contacts of the HIV-positive person, and connecting to the youth.

Dr. Shrikala Acharya, Project Director of the Mumbai District Aids Control Society, said they started multi-month dispensation about six months ago for their patients. “We allow it only to patients who have verified addresses so that follow-up at any time is possible. The patient has to come to get the medicines,” said Dr. Acharya.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 8:43:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/medicine-stock-comes-to-aid-of-hiv-patients/article30119808.ece

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