HIV TREATMENT

Big ARV containers are sensible cost saving

In Summary

• Pepfar funding for Kenya is being cut from 50 to 35 billion shillings this year.

• New larger containers will hold 180 or 100 pills instead of 30 pills.

Some of ARV tablets for clinical HIV treatment.
Some of ARV tablets for clinical HIV treatment.
Image: FILE

Some Aids activists are complaining that new containers for their ARV pills are too large (see P10). They want them scrapped. They are being unrealistic.

Presently ARVs are dispensed in small plastic tins that carry 30 pills. 

The US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) has cut funding for Kenya this year from Sh50 billion to Sh35 billion. It has asked the Health ministry to prepare for two large containers of 100 or 180 pills as a cost-saving measure.

 

So patients will only need to visit clinics every three months to collect their pills instead of once a month.

The head of the National Empowerment Network of People living with HIV-Aids in Kenya, Nelson Otuoma, says the larger containers will be more conspicuous and might expose the identity of the HIV-positive Kenyans.

Kenyans are getting these ARVs thanks to the American government. The ARVs can reduce the viral load to undetectable levels. As a result, HIV-positive Kenyans can lead normal and lengthy lives.

A larger container is a small price to pay for access to free ARVs that years ago were unaffordable for most people.

Quote of the day: "To have the truth in your possession you can be found guilty, sentenced to death."

Peter Tosh
The Jamaican musician died on September 11, 1987