Swaziland’s Supply Of Antiretroviral Drugs Running Low

“Cash-strapped Swaziland’s state hospitals have only two months’ supplies of AIDS drugs, the country’s health minister has told parliament in an assessment that AIDS patients and activists took as a death sentence,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. More than 60,000 Swazis receive antiretroviral medicine at no cost from state-run hospitals.

According to the news service, state media reported that Swaziland Health Minister Benedict Xaba, speaking to parliament on Monday, “blamed the country’s economic crisis.” The AP/Seattle Times writes, “Swaziland is seeking international loans to cope with its budget crisis. Xaba says AIDS patients should not lose hope, but news of dwindling drug supplies has worried patients.” Thembi Nkambule, director of the Swaziland National Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS, said she fears gains made in increasing the number of patients on treatment will be lost, according to the news service. “Swazis will die in numbers. Hope will be lost,” she said (Zulu, 6/28).