Some South African clinics running short of HIV/AIDS drugs: MSF

Anti-retroviral drugs sit on a shelf in the pharmacy at the Ubuntu clinic in Cape Town's Khayelitsha townshipOne in five South African clinics are running short of life-saving HIV/AIDS drugs, affecting nearly half a million people and undermining the success of the world's largest treatment program, medical charities said on Thursday. With about 6 million people infected with the virus – more than 10 percent of the population – South Africa carries the world's heaviest HIV/AIDS caseload and has around 2.5 million people taking antiretroviral (ARV) drugs daily. Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières surveyed more than 2,300 of South Africa's 3,800 public health facilities and found that one in five had either run short or run out of drugs in the previous three months. Of the affected clinics, catering for 420,000 patients, 20 percent said they had had to turn away patients, putting the effectiveness of the ARV treatment plan at risk, MSF said.

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