ARV medication. File photo: AP.

Gauteng - There is a shortage of antiretrovirals (ARVs) in clinics around Gauteng, the DA claimed on Sunday.

“I sympathise with the concerns of Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) members who boycotted a World Aids Day event in Gauteng yesterday (Saturday) because of shortages of antiretroviral drugs in several health facilities in the province,” Democratic Alliance MPL Jack Bloom said in a statement.

The Sunday Times reported that about 80 people, including members of the TAC's Gauteng branch, picketed outside the Sethokga hostel, in Tembisa, during an Aids awareness campaign held by health MEC Hope Papo on Saturday.

In October, the TAC gave Papo's office a list of more than 20 hospitals and clinics where there was a shortage of ARVs.

Bloom claimed that patients were sometimes told to make a week's supply last for two weeks.

“Any disruption of ARV drug supply is of huge concern because it builds up drug resistance,” he said.

He said that when the drugs become ineffective, more expensive second-line ARVs had to be given to keep HIV and Aids at bay.

The Auckland Park Medical Supply Depot supplied only 78 percent of essential drugs on time, Bloom said.

An investigation had found major corruption in this depot, said Bloom, adding that Papo had undertaken to act on this after due deliberation.

“Management problems at the depot must be sorted out speedily as we cannot continue with medicine disruptions in Gauteng,” Bloom said.

The TAC's Gauteng chairwoman, Sibongile Tshabalala, told the Sunday Times it could not take part in the World Aids Day event as the province was threatening the well-being of people with HIV and Aids in Gauteng.

The Gauteng health department could not immediately be reached for comment. - Sapa