HIV patients on second-line therapy risk developing worse resistance to the virus due to shortage of a key agent of antiretroviral therapy.

Health officials say the unavailability of Aluvia meant for patients who have failed the first-line treatment could derail the fight against HIV-AIDS.

The Komfo Anokye and Korle Bu Hospitals are among health facilities hardest hit by the shortage.

Apart from being used as a second line therapy, Aluvia prevent occupationally acquired HIV infection. It is a key component in providing what is known as post exposure prophylaxis for hospital staff who come into contact with some categories of HIV positive patients.

Shortage of the drug, according to health authorities has negative implications for the country. Checks at the Central Medical Stores in Ashanti, Greater Accra, Bono Ahafo and other seven regions in Ghana reveal they have run-out of stock for about two months now.

The development means patients are on ?treatment holiday?, pending receipt of new consignment of Aluvia.

About 1, 200 or 2 per cent of a total of 59, 000 HIV patients on treatment in Ghana are on second line treatment. About 400 of second line treatment patients are in the Ashanti region alone.

Officials of the Ghana AIDS Control Program say a foreign company that won the bid to import the drug expects to take delivery by the end of this month. Programs Manager at the Ghana AIDS Control Program, Dr. Nii Akwei Addo says late delivery of consignments has been the challenge.

?You know three medicines combine even for the second line. Because of these challenges, we have what we call first and second options; so those taking that, we have to change one of the medicines for them until we get the Aluvia back in the system?.

Meanwhile, Dr. Addo has advised HIV patients to live healthy lives to prolong their lives. ?The things that people can to do keep them healthy, well; eat well, stay healthy, low alcohol but the critical thing is to get the medicine but we are still pushing?.

 

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