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Coping with irregular ARV supplies : PLHA experience in Nigeria [abstract]

OJIMBA, A O
OKONKWO, I P
ONYEONORO, U
2004

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In 2002, Nigeria initiated a pilot ARV treatment programme in 25 federal medical institution to provide ART to 10,000 people living with HIV and AIDS. The drug supply however became so irregular that they became unavailable. This paper, presented at the 2004 International AIDS Conference, describes coping mechanisms adopted by people living with HIV and AIDS benefiting from the programme. When drugs ran low or out completely, fewer than 8% of patients were able to purchase drugs privately due to high cost. High cost and fear of fake drugs were major reasons for not continuing treatment. Strategies adopted to cope included skipping doses, buying very little supplies at a time, sharing drugs with HIV positive spouse, relation or friend, using herbal medicines, prayers, food supplements and multivitamins as alternatives to ARVs. The paper concludes that governments need to put in place a more sustainable ARV programme. Comprehensive VCT centres should be established in all these pilot centres and treatment education should be given a priority

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