Watch: Why are HIV patients protesting in Delhi?

They are struggling to get life-saving drugs and, they allege, NACO isn’t addressing the shortage.

ByNL Team
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For over a week now, a group of HIV patients has been protesting outside the Delhi office of the National Aids Control Organization. They allege that HIV patients across the country have been struggling to find life-saving antiretroviral drugs – for six months in some cities – but the government, specifically NACO, seems least bothered to address the shortage. NACO is a central government agency which, among other services, provides free antiretroviral drugs to HIV patients through a network of ART Centres. And even as many ART Centres are running short of these life-saving drugs, the protesters say, they are available freely in the market.

“I have to buy my own medicine, I don’t get it from NACO,” says Loon Gangte, one of the protesters. “I have been buying my medicine from a private chemist since 2020 and he hasn’t been out of stock even once.”

The protesters have held several rounds of talks with NACO officials, they say, but the drugs are still not available at the ART Centres. The drugs are essential treatment for most HIV patients, the protesters point out, so not having access to them is a matter of life and death – and a human rights violation.

Watch.

Also see
Could we safely reduce the frequency of treatments for HIV-positive people?
WHO warns of drug resistance in HIV, India drags feet
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