Tight deadlinefor ARV roll-out

The clock is ticking for the South African government, which promised in 2007 to reduce the incidence of HIV by half and enrol at least 80percent of people living with HIV in anti-retroviral therapy by 2011.

The clock is ticking for the South African government, which promised in 2007 to reduce the incidence of HIV by half and enrol at least 80percent of people living with HIV in anti-retroviral therapy by 2011.

But judging by the increasing number of new infections and those receiving treatment at present, the country might miss the deadline.

Recent Department of Health statistics indicate that more than 630000 people are on ARV therapy instead of 1,4million.

The incidence of HIV has also increased in adults between the ages of 24 and 49 years from 1,7 to 2,2 percent.

In 2007 about 250000 people were receiving ARV treatment including children.

Rebecca Hodes, head of policy, communication and research for the Treatment Action Campaign, said: "We are very concerned about the slow pace at which ARV drugs are rolled out.

"If the government continues like this it will never reach its target by 2011. We are so far behind it is ridiculous.

"The public sector has managed to enrol only just more than 300000 people over the past two years, bringing the total number of people on ART to 560000," said Hodes.

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