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HIV-positive people in Wuhan are struggling to get the drugs they need during coronavirus lockdown

Nick Duffy March 17, 2020
People with HIV in Wuhan are struggling to get meds

People with HIV in Wuhan are struggling to get meds (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

People living with HIV in Wuhan are struggling to get antiretrovirals due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

The Chinese city of Wuhan, which is home to 11 million people, was the epicentre of the initial coronavirus in China.

HIV-positive people in Wuhan are struggling to get drugs during coronavirus lockdown.

A CNN feature revealed that thousands of people living with HIV in the city are struggling to get the drugs they need due to the continuing lockdown in the city and the pressure on its hospitals.

Huang Haojie, director at Wuhan LGBT Center, told the outlet: “For some HIV-infected people, they would rather stop taking the drug than expose their identity and privacy.”

Wuhan is still locked down due to coronavirus
Wuhan is still locked down due to coronavirus (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

In a Facebook post, Huang said: “All cities in Hubei Province have adopted strict traffic control and community closure measures, and HIV-infected people can not receive antiviral drugs on time, facing the risk of drug withdrawal.

“The Wuhan LGBT Center is providing support by telephone and internet for HIV patients to provide counseling services and collect information for help.”

LGBT activists are helping to distribute medication.

Volunteers from the Wuhan LGBT Center are now putting their own lives at risk to deliver medication to people across the city, working around the clock to help those in need.

He explained that volunteers are helping to transport people to and from the hospital, as well as collecting medication and distributing it across the community to help people get the drugs as quickly as possible.

Huang said that so far, the team has been contacted by more than 4,000 people – and supplied nearly 2,200 people with antiretroviral drugs.

He told CNN: “The number of requests we receive every day now is close to 200 people.

“We take turns to rest and work once every other day, and then basically everyone works nearly 12 hours on that day. About 10 staff members are in charge of receiving inquiries and calls from various people every day. Our phone receives calls from 9am to 11pm every day.”

However, there are many more HIV-positive people who need help – some of whom are socially isolated and have begun to miss doses.

Elsewhere this week, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies said that it has found no evidence that its HIV-preventative drug has any effect against the coronavirus.

More: China, Coronavirus, HIV, Wuhan

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