CD4 care to rise

President Jacob Zuma is expected to announce today that the CD4 count threshold for obtaining anti-retroviral treatment will be increased from 200 to 300 both in the public and private sectors.

This is in line with global trends.

At present more than 700000 people are receiving ARV treatment in the country. It is expected that by the end of March next year the number will have increased by 200000 to 900000.

In October Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced an extra R900million to provide Aids drugs for state health facilities for the rest of this fiscal year.

The Treasury has added R5,4billion to the HIV-Aids conditional grant over the medium term, given an expected rise in demand for Aids drugs. An extra R1,2billion is allocated in 2010-11, R1,8billion in 2011-12 and R2,4billion in 2012-13, taking the total allocations to R5,5billion.

The SA Medical Association has welcomed the idea of raising the ARV threshold.

"We have always been concerned about whether it is correct to wait for treatment until a person's CD4 count has dropped to 200. We believe delaying treatment might contribute to a higher mortality rate," said Sama chairperson Norman Mabasa.