Uganda HIV Rate Rising, Running Out of Drugs, Test Kits

Uganda HIV Rate Rising, Running Out of Drugs, Test Kits

Uganda’s HIV rate rose from 6.4 percent in 2005 to 7.3 percent in 2012, a sign that the country’s once-successful HIV prevention program is faltering, according to a report in All Africa.

As of May 1, the country faced shortages of HIV antiretroviral drugs and kits, with stocks  either out or below the minimum levels in country’s three government warehouses, the report said.

The report also said the antifungal drug Fluconazole, used to fight opportunistic infections in people with HIV, was out of stock and lab supplies for hematology, clinical chemistry and assessing CD4 counts – a measure of immune strength – were also running dangerously low,  as were stocks of TB drugs.

Uganda’s health ministry said it asked for replenishment from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and pharmaceutical maker Pfizer.

The shortage is a result of the government’s move to increase the number of sites for antiretrovirals and to improve access to HIV treatment, said Ruth Aceng, director general of health services.

“We expect the drugs to arrive in the country in the next two weeks or so,” she said in the report.

But activists say the shortage is only the latest in a list of supply-chain problems that have caused similar shortages of drugs and condoms in the past, and continued mismanagement is harming the country’s HIV response, according to All Africa.

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