The Union Office in Myanmar provides antiretroviral therapy (ART) to over 26,000 people living with HIV in Myanmar through the Integrated HIV Care (IHC) Programme. Now, thanks to 17 newly decentralised treatment centres, at least one third of those patients will have better access to care and improved support to continue treatment.
People living with HIV can lead normal, healthy lives with the help of ART, but difficulty in getting to treatment centres and transportation costs can make it difficult for patients to keep up with their treatment. Creating smaller facilities in more locations facilitates easier access to care, which maximises patients’ adherence to treatment. These 17 new centres will also extend services to those who may not have been able to reach them previously.
Maung Maung, an ART recipient who has been receiving treatment through the IHC Programme since 2010, spoke with The Union about the difference these new healthcare centres would make in his life:
“The new site is closer to my home, which saves me time and money that I used to spend on getting to the clinic. I will be on this treatment for my whole life, so the easier it is, the better.”
The IHC Programme in Myanmar offers HIV testing, counselling and treatment in close collaboration with the National AIDS Programme. Using an integrated care method, individuals are also screened and monitored for symptoms of tuberculosis (TB), and referred for testing and treatment to the National TB Programme when necessary.
The IHC Programme began in 2005 and is currently supported by grants from Total E&P Myanmar and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.