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20,000 HIV-positive patients may die in Ukraine, due to a lack of medications and treatment. Of the 17 drugs required by these patients, Ukraine is now short of at least five.
Ukraine’s National HIV Support Network says that the Ministry of Health has delayed buying necessary medication.
[Sergey Dmitriev, Ukrainian HIV Support Network]:
"One man may soon die soon. One man will soon be in a serious condition - he already has tuberculosis or pneumonia and he was denied treatment because there were no drugs."
Doctors say that fifty percent of people infected with HIV could die within a year if they don’t receive timely treatment.
The Ministry of Health has acknowledged that some drugs are missing. According to an official statement, they say that patients are being given similar drugs.
However, the greatest danger in substituting drugs is that the virus in a patient may develop a resistance to the drug, making the treatment ineffective.
Doctors in Ukraine do not routinely conduct resistance tests for each patient to check what drugs may be ineffective.
[Dmitry Sherembey, Representative of All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH]:
"Ukraine could become exposed to a certain virus, as a result of resistance, for which there are no treatment options."
The delay in providing drugs also means that treatment could be completely stopped for a few days, which could lead to disastrous consequences.
The Ministry of Health is confident there is no threat of interrupted treatment. They say some of the drugs are currently undergoing quality control, and any missing drugs will be procured by next week.
Ukraine has the biggest number of HIV-positive patients in Europe - between 170 to 360 thousand people live with the virus.
Every day, 50 Ukrainians die from diseases caused by AIDS.
NTD, Kyiv, Ukraine.