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Pretoria - The Gauteng Health Department has started distributing antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to clinics that have experienced supply shortages in recent weeks.

The department announced today that a total of 50 000 units of lamivudine were delivered this morning at Helen Joseph Hospital and Ekurhuleni clinics.

“Tshwane clinics and other areas also received supplies. More stock is expected to be received and distributed for the rest of the week,” said Health MEC Hope Papo.

Papo has also apologised to patients who were inconvenienced, a shortage of drugs placed a heavy burden on patients, who have to make many trips to clinics.

“We are also sensitive to the fact that patients may develop drug resistance if they do not take their medication regularly. It is for this reason that we are taking every possible step to stabilise drug supply in the province,” he said.

Daveyton East Clinic, which was hard hit by inadequate ARV supplies, was among the first clinics to receive stock. The improvement in the availability of ARV drugs means that clinics will start improving dosages given to patients from one week to a month.

Papo said that in time, patients who are in a stable condition and are adhering properly to their treatment will be provided with three months supplies to minimise visits to clinics and save them transport costs. –