There's a growing number of people living with HIV/Aids who are defaulting on their anti-retroviral (ARV) drug treatment in one of Tshwane's biggest health centres.
According to the Gauteng health department, 535 patients at the Stanza Bopape Community Health Centre in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, have defaulted on their ARV medication while 2,000 people have missed an appointment at least once.
However, the Mamelodi Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has disputed the department's figures, saying the number of defaulters has gone up to 6,000 following their monitoring visit to the facility last month.
Mamelodi TAC chairperson Bobby Mohanoe maintained that the crisis was much deeper, also saying there was only one adherence officer in the area.
"There is a crisis in that area. The department is not giving a true reflection of what is happening," he said.
Mohanoe said the issue can be resolved by hiring more adherence officers and creating more centres were people can fetch medication to avoid long waiting periods at clinics.
Dr Ben Montoedi, acting chief director for HIV/Aids, STIs and TB in the provincial health department, said tracking patients was challenging because of a high number of people from outside Gauteng who use public facilities.
He said the issue was tackled through training clinicians and counsellors who ensure that patients are encouraged to stick to their medication.
A gay man is among those that have stopped taking ARVs a year ago despite health risks.