HIV treatment in a warzone

Taken from HIV treatment in a conflict setting: outcomes and experiences from Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, by Heather Culbert et al in PLoS Medicine, 2007 May;4(5):e129
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Article on PubMed Central
Article on PLoS Medicine

Patient 1
Followed in the clinic since 2002, on ART since December 2003. Lives in Rwanda.

When the fighting started, I thought that it was the end of our lives. I had only treatment for three days and five days of security. I had interrupted my treatment for two days when another patient arrived with the treatments sent by MSF. I was afraid it was the end of my life because more than just the [lack] of medications, I was very sick and I had to be hospitalised with fever and vomiting. It is very important to have the treatment.

Patient 2
Followed in the clinic since May 2003, and on ART since December 2003.

I heard gun fire all through the night. When I had only five pills left I lost my appetite and felt desperate... but despite the uncertainty I continued to take my treatment at the correct hour... When I had only one pill left I had the courage to go out and seek some more treatment. I went to see [my] nurse [at her home] who informed me that she would be able to distribute ARVs; with that I had a month’s worth of treatment. If we have to give up this treatment we will return to how we were at the start, sick.

Sad, very sad.

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