CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The Venezuelan Society of Infectious Diseases, or SVI, warns that the lives of HIV patients are in danger due to shortages of medicine and unscheduled treatment changes that make HIV/AIDS "impossible to control."
In the past year, serious shortages of anti-retroviral medications -- specificially, atazanavir, raltegravir, ritonavir, nevirapine, efavirenz, rilpivirine, tenofovir, emtricitabine and abacavir -- have "exacerbated" and threatened the lives of Venezuela's HIV-positive population, SVI said in a statement.
"The shortage of anti-retroviral drugs and reagents makes it impossible to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country, making it difficult to control the transmission of the virus from the mother to her children and in the general population," SVI wrote in a public statement released Monday. "Currently, Venezuela does not have any HIV treatment considered first-rate by international guidelines."
SVI has called on President Nicolas Maduro's regime to "take necessary measures." Last week, Venezuelan Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino López announced the military would take control of the distribution of "all medical and surgical supplies managed in all hospitals."
Venezuela continues to experience shortages of medicine, food for the sick and infant formula, and increased maternal mortality rates and loss of transplant organs due to power failures.
The Venezuelan opposition blames government inaction for exacerbating the country's health crisis, whereas Maduro's ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, argues the health crisis is a symptom of an economic crisis perpetrated by the opposition and pro-capitalist companies in alliance with the United States.