Ministry of Health to Guarantee the Availability of ARV Medicines in Health Services

0 telah menandatangani. Mari kita ke 15.000.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the procurement of ARV medicine in Indonesia is chaotic. In almost all regions are struggling with medicine availability and even if it exists, its already expired. Some ARV importing countries which used to export medicine to Indonesia also experienced lockdowns and were unable to send the medicines. To add more problems, the lockdown in Jakarta also affecting access to transportation such as trains and airplanes.

Currently, there are approximately 130,000 patients with HIV who are on treatment and among them, there are approximately 11,000 pediatric patients. My name is Baby Rivona and I am one of those patients. I have been living with HIV for 17 years and have to depend on antiretroviral for a lifetime.

What is the importance of ARV drugs?

ARV  is our only remedy. This medicine suppresses the virus replication rate and increases my immune system so that I can recover, live a healthy and productive life. More importantly, regular consumption of ARV drastically reduces the viral load so they are no longer be able to spread to others. Therefore ARV medicine must be taken every day, for life.

Because of that, we can live well and have our rights as Indonesian citizens such as marriage and childbearing without transmitting to our spouses or future babies. With a healthy body, we can also maintain economic stability in the family and even make it possible to contribute to the country and be a good citizen by paying taxes.

ARV medicines are given free, but can only be accessed limitedly by people with HIV in hospitals and health services that have been appointed by the Ministry of Health. But at this very moment, there are many PLHIV who are struggling in accessing ARV during COVID-19.

For one example, some have to spend the cost of going back and forth from Nusa Penida to Denpasar, which is a separate island in Bali, so they have to go on a boat every two weeks to take medicine. Many are also forced to take other types of ARVs due to the stockout and with the given medicine they are experiencing many side effects such as dizziness, insomnia, and even anemia. Not to mention those who are dropping out the therapy for being depressed about the situation.

There has been a slow response from the government about this problem. Amid the pandemic COVID-19, especially the Ministry of Health should have a priority scale for groups that have special needs in treatment.

In the past, the government heard our voice, support, and hard work together when we petitioned for access to Sofosbuvir's Hepatitis C medicine. Now I want to invite you once again to support us by urging the government to guarantee the availability of ARV medicine in health services so that PLHIV does not drop out of treatment.



Baby Rivona