Guatemala – the antiretroviral shortage is exacerbated

  • November 24, 2015
  • News

escasezThe RedTrasex network, the Latinamerican network for people with hiv, the Centroamerican network for people with hiv, ITPC – Latca, ONUSIDA, UNFPA and other organizations and activists have expressed their concern regarding the plight of the interruption of the antiretroviral treatment provision at the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS).

On November 4th, la Asociación Vida broadcasted a communiqué which denounces the shortages at the IGSS during the past three years. In 2015, la Asociación Vida received 628 complaints related to the interruption of the provision for antiretroviral medications. Lamivudina, abacavir, lopinavir/ritonavir, darunavir, tenofovir, efavirenz, didanosina, raltegravir, tenofovir/emtricitabina, ritonavir and maraviroc are the medications reported as stockout at some point this year.

La Asociación Vida with the support of the Commissioner for Human Rights denounced the shortage to the Executive Board of the IGSS, the Management and the Board of the Hospital Pharmacy. IGSS officials and the activists had a meeting in order to find solutions to this serious crisis that this institute is facing and that is affecting hundreds of people. Even though many solutions were presented during the meeting, the provision of medications is still irregular.

Guatemala is facing a severe financial and political crisis, the president had to resign and his replacement is expected to take office early in January. Amid this environment of instability and institutional problems, the people are asking for a budget increase to hiv response. In this context, the Health Ministry must overcome an allegation of misappropriation of funds that were allocated for medications.

The situation is alarming; activists and organizations have expressed their support and proposed legal actions such as lodging complaints before National and International Courts and managing donations that will be made by boarder countries or countries that are always willing to help. This could contribute to temporarily mitigate the fact that thousands of Guatemalans could face drug resistance in a short term.