Delay in switching to new ARVs worries Malawi Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS

MANET+ has expressed worry over the delay in switching from old to new Anti-retroviral Drugs (ARVs) in some districts across the country.

The switch, which was expected to be implemented by 1 July, 2013 has seen only half of the districts adhering to the switch as of this month.

Disclosing the information on Monday, Executive Director of MANET+, Safari Mbewe briefed reporters in Lilongwe that the delay in switching fully to the new ARVs could have serious health implications, citing the examples of body deformities and sudden deaths.

He said it was not fair to keep distributing old ARVs that have a lot of side effects when the new and improved drug is available.

Safari Mbewe, in the middle, Excecutive Director for MANET+ speaking to the media. pic by Felix Washon. MANA

Safari Mbewe, in the middle, Excecutive Director for MANET+ speaking to the media. pic by Felix Washon. MANA

“We are setting a death trap for our people if we are forcing them to take these old drugs. We advocate for quality treatment and, therefore, it is only wise to help in the implementation of full switching in all the districts,” said Mbewe.

He further explained that as MANET+ there are hopeful that government has enough new and improved ARVs in stock to see smooth distribution of the drugs to all government hospitals and health centres.

Mbewe said it was for that reason that they have invited the Ministry of Health officials to their 2013 national conference for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) scheduled for 28 and 29 August, 2013 to make presentations on the progress of the switching and explain the reasons for the delay in full switching to the new drugs.

He explained that time has come for PLHIV to enjoy their rights to good and quality health just like any other citizen of the country.

He said as their mandate, MANET+ will advocate for quality health and appealed to the public to stop stigmatizing and discriminating PLHIV.

The PLHIV conference is an annual event that aims at mobilizing support for people living with HIV and those affected by the epidemic and encourage government, non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, private and public companies, communities and individuals to take part in responding to the epidemic.

The theme for the conference is “Quality Treatment Now-Time for Action”.

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