Report Urges Government To Provide Access To Second-Line Antiretrovirals

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Second-Line Antiretrovirals

The Indian Parliamentary standing committee on health and familywelfare recently released a report urging the government to provideHIV-positive people who have developed resistance to first-lineantiretroviral drugs with access to second-line antiretrovirals, the Statesman reports (Statesman, 9/4).

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National AIDS Control OrganizationDirector-General Sujatha Rao in April said the second-line drugs, whichcan cost 12 times as much as some older drugs, will be provided afterNACO meets its goal of providing first-line antiretroviral treatment to100,000 people in the country. According to Rao, the government inApril was providing about 67,000 people with access to first-linedrugs, and between 3,000 and 4,000 new people are added to the programmonthly. She added that based on these numbers, NACO could meet the100,000 treatment target by December 2007. Second-line antiretroviralscost $239 per person monthly, compared with $239 per person annuallyfor first-line medications (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/19).

Thecommittee in its report said about 3,000 to 5,000 people who receivedrug access through NACO have developed resistance to first-line drugs,adding that the government's decision to provide second-line treatmentaccess after 100,000 people receive first-line drug access is"insensitive and inhuman." According to the committee, NACO has notfully utilized the seven billion rupees, or about $172 million,allocated for the 2006 to 2007 fiscal period.

Actual expendituresreported as of Feb. 15 were 5.8 billion rupees, or about $141 million.The committee said that this spending shortfall will hinder efforts tocontrol the spread of HIV in the country. The committee also noted thatefforts to establish sexually transmitted infection clinics, targetedinterventions and new schools to provide HIV/AIDS education have notbeen realized. The committee said that falling short of such goals willhave "grave future implications" (Statesman, 9/4).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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