HIV campaign gets a boost

MAKING STRIDES: North West health MEC Magome Masike during yesterday's drive to increase the number of HIV-positive people who will get ARV treatment. PHOTO: BOITUMELO TSHEHLE
MAKING STRIDES: North West health MEC Magome Masike during yesterday's drive to increase the number of HIV-positive people who will get ARV treatment. PHOTO: BOITUMELO TSHEHLE

THE North West health department will add 54221 people to the number receiving anti-retroviral treatment over the next six months, MEC Magome Masike said yesterday.

The decision follows an announcement last month by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe initiating treatment for all those who test HIV positive with a CD4 count of 350 or less.

North West currently provides ARVs to 122379 people.

Masike said a total of 1397 nurses have been trained to administer ARVs.

He said in addition to that an extra 500 nurses will undergo training over the current financial year.

He also said accredited facilities offering ARVs will be increased from 138 to 233 by March 2012.

Masike said policy changes marking increased access to treatment, care and support for groups identified as critical in an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality, were first made in 2009.

"The policy change covered pregnant women, people who are co-infected with HIV and TB with a CD4 count of 350 or less, and HIV-exposed infants who test positive at birth," he said.

In 2008 national HIV prevalence among pregnant women attending antenatal was 29,3percent. In North West the prevalence was 31percent, with the Dr Kenneth Kaunda district being the highest at 35percent.

The province has however seen changes in HIV prevalence. According to 2009 figures the HIV prevalence in pregnant women was 30percent.

The objectives of the HIV campaign was to strengthen the health systems since other resources were to be channelled to it.

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