I have been on ARVs since 2004 and my doctor has been checking my CD4 count, liver and kidneys every six months. However, I have recently been told that due to reduction in funding, these tests are not going to be done as in the past. How will I know if the drugs are still working for me well if monitoring tests are not done?
ONE of the challenges we are facing is that most of the people living with HIV who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) are being funded by donors.
This means that we cannot always afford to do things like laboratory monitoring of ART because it is expensive.
However, research done in Uganda and other countries shows that doing the monitoring tests frequently may not be necessary if the patient adheres to the prescribed treatment and is monitored clinically each time he or she goes for review and drug refills.
Clinical monitoring involves checking weight, looking for anaemia or yellowness of mucus membranes. If these are normal and one is feeling well, then the drugs are working well in most cases.
The current freeze on funding for ART means we should develop the means of raising money locally to support people who are taking life-saving drugs.
How can I know ARVs are effective?