Zim facing critical second-line HIV drug shortage

HARARE - Zimbabwe is suffering a shortage of imported second-line drugs to treat HIV victims due to insufficient foreign exchange.

Health activists say thousands of patients on publicly-funded treatment programmes are at risk because of the shortage of Abacavir, forcing them to take lower dosages or none at all.

Patients are being given a week’s supply instead of three months’ supply.

Some activists said they were concerned the government was spending too much on measures designed to help them win presidential and parliamentary elections next year rather than on medicines. Officials denied the charge.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) said seropositive patients should access the second-line drug due to their bodies’ resistance, or reaction to first-line drugs.

ZimRights said this is a serious human rights issue given health rights are guaranteed in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)’ Article 25 (1) and Section 76 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

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