My name is Ajitshwor Wangkheirakpam. I am 42 years old male from Manipur in India. I have been living with HIV and HCV co-infection for a long time. My HIV have been completely well controlled and managed, thanks to the government program for anti-retroviral for HIV. However, my HCV infection has been making my liver’s condition go bad and I was advised to start treatment for HCV, without which my risk of fatality was high. I was also told that the progression of my liver disease would be much faster because of my HIV co-infection.
There was no way that I could pay for the entire 1 year treatment using Pegylated interferon and ribavirin. I waited for the new medications to come out which will reduce the cost, improve cure rate and decrease side effects. Thanks to Indian generic, in May 2015 I started my treatment. Unfortunately, I had to use sofosbuvir in combination with Pegylated interferon and ribavirin since a second DAA was not available.
I have completed my treatment in August 2015 and have had undetectable viral load throughout. I am waiting for my SVR 12 results.
I would say, availing and using sofosbuvir have reduce the duration, cost, lengthy side effects associated with Pegylated interferon and have improved my chances of a cure. The cost is still very expensive and I could manage it only with the support of my family and friends. The diagnostics adds to the cost and doesn’t come cheap either.
It’s time that government uses the opportunity of the new medicines available, negotiate the price with companies and start providing treatment with the diagnostic requirements also supported to all the people who needs the treatment irrespective of economic background, social status and background a person belongs to. If this is not supported on time, then we will be seeing a generation of people living with HIV who lived with an incurable infection and died of a curable infection. At the end, I would also like to thank my friends, peers and family members who helped me in coping with side effects and were there during my tough times- without your support, it would have been very difficult for me to do this alone.