Wednesday, 20 January 2016

“It hurts”: when Uganda runs short of HIV drugs

For Bashil Masiga, 23, who was born with HIV and relies on antiretrovirals to live a healthy and productive life, going to his local pharmacy to find nothing but painkillers is terrifying.

“It hurts,” he says. “All I thought of was death, because I grew up knowing that ARVs [antiretrovirals] are my life. Without them, no life.”

Masiga is an HIV peer educator in Bugiri District, Uganda and unfortunately his story is not unusual as Uganda is well known for having regular stock outs of ARVS, despite the fact it is a high-burden country with 1.5 million people living with HIV (UNAIDS). Although the number of people on treatment is increasing, the latest estimates from 2013 show more than 60 percent of adults living with HIV are still not receiving ARVs (AVERT).

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