Lack of drugs for HIV patients increases the risk of contracting COVID-19

The warning was issued by the StopVIH non-government organization in the state of Nueva Esparta. It explained that since 2016 the Venezuelan State does not guarantee treatments or reagents for new diagnostics and control of the epidemic that affects more than 70 thousand people currently enrolled in the National HIV Program.

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The organization StopVIH warned that international donations guarantee treatment for people with HIV, until February 2021.

By Lisbeth Miquilena.

The organization StopVIH warns that in Venezuela, drugs for patients with (HIV) have not been furnished by the Nicolas Maduro regime for several years now, something that puts the health of these patients at even more risk in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2016, the Maduro government has not purchased antiretroviral treatments or reagents for new diagnoses and control of the epidemic that affects more than 70,000 people currently enrolled in the National HIV Program.

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“We issue this warning because we know that efforts get focused on the prevention of COVID-19; however, there is a reality, people with HIV are at risk if they do not receive treatment,” said Silvimar Campos, director of StopVIH.

He explained that through a report published on July 22, they made it known that people with the virus have received the drugs through international donations.

“For the work of civil society, and of course, UNAIDS, PAHO, and the Global Fund have managed to bring medicines to the country through donations, the first of which is for five million dollars and the second for six million dollars, which means that we can now guarantee medicines until February 2021.”

But she also warned that the national government has not acquired reagents for new diagnoses, so the exact numbers of new cases in the country are not known.

“We always say that the number of people registered in the national HIV Program is 70,000. However, the Ministry for Health estimates about 220,000 cases, but, there are under-registration because since there are no reagents in the hospitals for testing, it is impossible to know how many people are currently living with the virus in Venezuela,” said Campos.

Another situation that worries them is the high cost of testing in private clinics as well as medical consultations for such patients.

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