Djibouti Has Funding for Free Antiretroviral Drugs Until 2007, But Just 200 People Currently Receiving Treatment
The Djibouti government in July announced that it has adequate funding to provide antiretroviral drugs at no cost until 2007 to HIV-positive people in the country who need them, but currently only 200 people are receiving the medication, IRIN/Reuters reports. According to Omar Ali Ismael, head of Djibouti's technical committee on HIV/AIDS, the government hopes initially to provide antiretroviral drugs to 4,000 of the estimated 9,000 HIV-positive people in the country, using funding from a $12 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. According to a 2002 survey conducted in the country, 90% of HIV-positive people in the country live in the capital and can be reached easily, according to IRIN/Reuters. The number of people in the country who have taken an HIV test increased 500% during the first nine months of 2004, compared with the last nine months of 2003, Ismael said, IRIN/Reuters reports. However, "complex" issues -- including stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, lack of knowledge about HIV prevention and treatment and a lack of health care workers trained to distribute medication -- have "complicated" efforts to get people into treatment, IRIN/Reuters reports. Djibouti's estimated HIV prevalence is about 3% (IRIN/Reuters, 12/16).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.