ARV policy change will improve life of Aids babies

HIV-POSITIVE babies will have an improved chance of survival after the implementation of the government's revised antiretroviral policy.

HIV-POSITIVE babies will have an improved chance of survival after the implementation of the government's revised antiretroviral policy.

All children living with HIV under the age of one will receive treatment as soon as they are diagnosed with the disease.

Announcing the changed guidelines in Pretoria at the main event marking World Aids Day, President Jacob Zuma said: "This decision will contribute significantly towards the reduction of infant mortality.

"All children under one year of age will get treatment if they test HIV-positive. Initiating treatment, will, therefore, not be determined by the level of CD cells", he said.

The new guidelines will be effective as from April next year. Up until now government's policy has been to enrol people, including children, on to treatment when their CD4 count reaches 200 or is lower, by which stage some are already ill and have severely compromised immune systems.

Lee Fairlie, a paediatrician at the Enhancing Children's HIV Outcomes (ECHO) clinic at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, welcomed the revised guidelines, saying they will go a long way in protecting babies.

The revised guidelines will benefit many children to live even healthier lives. - Health-e News

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