U.S. to pay for thousands of doses of HIV drugs for Venezuelan migrants

Agency, 29 August : The United States said on Wednesday it will provide thousands of doses of HIV medication to treat Venezuelans in Colombia as part of regional efforts to manage care for millions of migrants fleeing the crisis-hit nation.

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told Reuters about the decision in a phone interview following a meeting this week of health officials from 10 countries in the Colombian border city of Cucuta.

The officials agreed to various measures meant to help the more than 4 million Venezuelans who have left home amid widespread shortages of food and medicine.

“When I was there I actually signed a letter of intent with minister of health Juan Pablo Uribe for the United States to be providing HIV antiretrovirals to Colombia for the use with Venezuelan refugees,” Azar said.

The United States will provide 12,000 doses, an HHS spokeswoman said, enough for a year’s medication for 1,000 migrants.

“We believe that its vital to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and to treat those who have it because with appropriate treatment individuals who have HIV/AIDS can live healthy, long, productive lives,” Azar said.

Antiretrovirals are not a cure for HIV, but can help keep the virus at bay and lower the chance of transmitting the disease.

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