LIBNEP+ Wants HIV Treatment Availability

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…Joins World AIDS Day Observance

The Liberian Network of Persons living with HIV (LIBNEP+) is calling for the availability of the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) for individuals living with the virus across the country.

Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) consists of a combination of at least three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop its progression in an infected person’s body.

The drugs work by preventing the virus from replicating during a specific stage in its life cycle, as such, they are not cytotoxic (toxic to cells) but rather impede a process essential to the reproduction of the virus itself.

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Speaking over the weekend in Monrovia, the Executive Director of the group Josephine Godoe said stuck out (unavailability) of the drugs was causing serious health problems for people living with the virus.

Madam Godoe said many of her organization’s members who are living in the leeward counties are finding it difficult to access treatment because of system bureaucracies.

According to her, persons living with HIV need the virus to life, and called on relevant institutions to involve and empower LIBNEP+ in helping with the distribution of the drugs.

Madam Godoe is also calling on government to support LIBNEP+ that is strategically placed, to buttress the country’s HIV scale up programs.

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A member of the group, Stephen McGill, who was honored as HIV champion said although HIV does not have a cure yet, treatment significantly extends life expectancy of persons living with the virus.

Mr. McGill, who has been living with HIV for years said most HIV positive individuals who are adherent to treatment live as long as their HIV negative counterparts, saying the provision of treatment must be a priority.

“I urge all of you to get tested today, know your status, and take action to protect your future and that of your loved ones,” Mr. McGill said.

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The impacts of the epidemic are becoming glaring health, social and economic threats to the growth and development of the country, with an estimated 40,000 persons currently infected in the country.

A data from the National AIDS Commission shows that out of this number, 13, 110 (30%) of persons living with HIV are on treatment, 1,800 pregnant women need treatment yearly and 1,553 (86%) receive treatment.

Madam Godoe said if people must be encouraged to do their test, treatment availability needs to a concern.

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