JIS News

The Ministry of Health is encouraging persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) to take advantage of the antiretroviral drugs that are available in the public health sector at significantly subsidized rates and in some cases, free of cost.
“We are inviting PLWHA to come in and access the drugs. HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence. You can now live long and happy even with the disease,” said Dr. Kevin Harvey of the National HIV/AIDS/STI Programme.
He told JIS News that since the drugs became available in the public sector in October last year, some 1,500 persons have so far benefited.
“We now have a comprehensive HIV management team of doctors, the drugs are available and counselling sessions are in place, so persons should come in make use of these services,” he noted.
PLWHA can access a triple combination of drugs for a month for a maximum cost of $1,000. Contrastingly, the same drugs are available in the private sector at cost of $5,000.
The drugs are available at 15 clinics and sites across the island and persons can call the Ministry of Health at 967-1100 for further information. Meanwhile, persons who cannot afford to pay, can access the drugs free of cost, once they meet certain stipulated criteria.
“We have social workers who carry out social assessments on the patients to verify whether they can or cannot afford the drugs. If they cannot afford the drugs, they are then provided with a National Health Fund (NHF) card, on which there is a co-pay feature, which will allow the clinic or centre to know whether such a person is to get the drugs for free,” Dr. Harvey explained.
A majority of the patients, who access the drugs in the public sector, do so free of cost.

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