Kasungu: People living with HIV and Aids in Kasungu have raised their complaints on the Routine Viral Load Testing (RVLT) process which takes a long period of time for people to get back their results.
It is said that Kasungu District Hospital has no machine for the test instead blood samples are being sent to Mzimba District hospital for testing which takes 3-4 months or more before the results come.
In his remarks one of the victimized sources, Alfred Sakala of Chaima Aids support group, T/A Njombwa said they have lost two people from their group who were waiting for results which he said is distressing.
We lost a member of ours last year and another this year who were both waiting for their results which is not good, sometimes we do think that maybe our results have been dislocated or not tested yet and the guidelines do not allow us to go for another test before the first outcome which makes us unaware whether our bodies are responding to the treatment or not, he said.
Commenting on the issue Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with or personally affected by HIV and Aids (MANERELA) programs Officer, Carlo Kassam said they have implemented a new project aimed at enhancing citizens demand for Differential Service Delivery Models (DSDM) and routine viral load testing to improve accessibility retention and adherence to Anti-retroviral Therapy ART in Kasungu.
We have embarked on this program where we are advocating for people living with HIV and Aids on access to routine and viral load testing (RVLT) and DSDM in order to force the government to somehow change the viral load policies where it says people who have just started receiving the ART treatment have to go for another RVLT test after two years which implies danger to these people’s lives than reducing it maybe to a year or less, she said.
However she added that the project would also help the people to easily access the ARTs as some of them travel long distances to receive the treatment as the country has no enough health centers.
Using Community Delivery Models will lessen the cost which these people incur when going to take the ART as some of them withdraw taking the drug because of failing to go to the designated health places.
Countries like South Africa use the same method that makes people to take the drug daily and orderly since they easily access ARTs in their communities, said Kassam.
Recently people living with HIV and Aids receive ARTs every month or every three months which is still a challenge to other people living in remote areas and far distances.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA