Sun Oct 23 05:32:14 SAST 2016

Hope for those with HIV - State pledges to increase budget

By Zinhle Mapumulo | Jul 19, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 2 ]

At present more than 900,000 people are receiving treatment but 500,000 more need to be on the  programme

THE government has committed itself to increasing the  budget allocation for HIV  treatment next year to  ensure  that all those who  need to be on antiretroviral  treatment  get it.

At present more than 900,000 people are receiving treatment but 500,000 more need to be on the  programme.

Last year about 600,000 people were on ART. The  number  increased by 50 percent this  year after  President Jacob  Zuma announced that women  who are  pregnant and HIV  positive with a CD4 count of  350 or  less have to be put on  treatment.

Deputy President Kgalema  Motlanthe, in Vienna for the   18th International Aids Conference, said yesterday that   the announcement was part of  government efforts to  intensify the fight against HIV- Aids.

Motlanthe said through  advice from the South African   National Aids Council and  other stakeholders the  government had committed itself  to increasing the  budget allocation for ARV drugs.

“South Africa has made  progress when it comes to  scaling up treatment but more  work needs to be done,”  he  said. “We have expanded coverage rapidly and a  drop in new  HIV infection among young  people has  been reported.  What we need to do now is  ensure that  people receiving  treatment are maintained.”

South Africa is one of the  few African countries that has   lived up to the commitment  made in Abuja, Nigeria, in   2001. African heads of state  committed themselves to   putting the fight against HIV  in the forefront and as the   highest priority issue in their  national development  plans.

The declaration also called  for countries to allocate at   least 15percent of their annual  budget to health  services.

“This country has done it  and this year it has managed   to invest 30percent more in  its health services and the   biggest portion of the money  is dedicated to the fight   against HIV-Aids,” Motlanthe  said.

UNAids executive director  Michel Sidibe praised the   efforts made by South Africa  in the fight against HIV.

“The country must be  applauded for its efforts,” he  said.  “They have managed to  scale up treatment and  prevention. As a result HIV  prevalence dropped among   the youth in 15 of the highest  burden countries.

“We need to continue to  empower them with sexual   education that builds life skills.  Their energy and bold  ideas  have inspired me in Vienna.”



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