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Scarce Access to Anti-Retrovirals for DR Congo HIV Patients

by Nancy Needhima on January 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM
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Scarce Access to Anti-Retrovirals for DR Congo HIV Patients

In the Democratic Republic of Congo Eighty-six percent of HIV-positive people do not have access to anti-retrovirals, said medical charity Doctors Without Borders on Wednesday.

"The conditions of access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS in the Democratic Republic of Congo are catastrophic," the Belgian wing of Swiss-based Médecins Sans Frontieres, Doctors without Borders or MSF said in a statement.

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Of the former Belgian colony's 68 million people, more than one million are carrying the virus that can lead to AIDS. MSF said 350,000 of them should be getting drug therapy but last year, only 44,000, about 14 percent, were.

In sub-Saharan Africa, about 49 percent of people living with HIV can get anti-retroviral treatment, the group said.

MSF added that only one percent of pregnant women with HIV were getting ARV treatment.
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The problem is exacerbated with many Congolese expected to pay for treatment, even though two-thirds of the population lives on $1.25 (96 euro cents) a day.

International donors are giving less money to the HIV fight, MSF noted, with the global financial crisis squeezing aid budgets.

Source: AFP
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