All Ekurhuleni clinics to dispense ARVs

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pretoria - All 94 clinics in the Ekurhuleni region will be dispensing Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment from 1 April 2010.

The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality has made this commitment to expand its response to HIV and AIDS to ensure that the rate of new HIV infections is reduced by 50 percent and the impact of the pandemic on individuals, families and the society is maintained.

"In order to meet the need for testing and treatment, we will work to ensure that all the health facilities in Ekurhuleni are ready to receive and assist patients and not just a few accredited ARV centres.

"Any citizen should be able to move into any health facility and ask for counselling, testing and even treatment if needed," said Member of the Mayoral Committee responsible for Health Makhosazana Maluleke.

This comes after President Jacob Zuma announced changes in country's HIV and AIDS policy on World Aids Day.

"The President said on World AIDS Day that HIV positive people will get their ARV treatment when their CD4 count level is at 350 and no longer 200 as before. The policy change is a clear indication that as government we do not want to give people treatment when they are already sick, fragile and with little hope for survival."

The President also announced that all pregnant HIV positive women with a CD4 count of 350 or with symptoms regardless of CD4 count must have access to treatment.

"All other pregnant women not falling into this category, but who are HIV positive, will be put on treatment at 14 weeks of pregnancy to protect the baby," said Maluleke.

She urged parents not to hide their HIV positive children in bedrooms as treatment becomes more available.