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Cost of AIDS Treatment Rises Out Of Reach Of Many Zimbabweans

Zimbabweans are absorbing the latest surge in inflation to a 1,181% annual rate, but for some of those living with HIV-AIDS the rise in prices is particularly disturbing as the recent doubling in price of antiretroviral drugs has put them out of reach of many.

About 50,000 Zimbabweans are enrolled in government and other ARV drug therapy programs. But many of those infected with the virus and starting to see their immune systems collapse must purchase the drugs from private pharmacies.

Those who need to take ARVs to defend their immune systems must pay Z$60,000 to Z$150,000 a month depending on what specific drugs they are taking. Common ARVs like Lamivadin, Ziagen and Kaletra doubled in price in the past 10 days as druggists raised local currency prices to reflect the mounting cost of importing the drugs.

National Director Benjamin Mazhindu of the Zimbabwe Network of People Living Positively with HIV and AIDS said ARV prices are beyond reach of many.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

Editor's note: This version has been amended to correct misspellings of the names of some of the antiretroviral drugs mentioned in the initial version.