Gauteng increases number of ARV sites

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Provincial Government is to increase the number of anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment sites in the province from 73 to 113 this financial year.

"The total number of patients to be targeted in the new financial year is 130 000, which will see the department reaching out to 400 000 by the end of March 2011," Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu said on Tuesday.

She also urged HIV positive people, who were pregnant, to visit clinics to start early treatment.

"Providing ARV therapy to pregnant mothers with CD4 count of 350 or with AIDS defining symptoms regardless of CD4 count will help to decrease the number of deaths among mothers.

"This will make them and their babies less vulnerable to complications of HIV and AIDS," Mahlangu said, adding that all patients co-infected with TB will be initiated on ARV treatment irrespective of their CD 4 count.

In his Budget Speech last week, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced an additional R3 billion to broaden access to those infected with TB and women and children with a CD4 count lower than 350.

In line with the call by the South African National AIDS Council, Mahlangu also announced that the department will be working with provincial chiefs and izindunas in hostels to promote circumcision among men.

She said the message would be taken to hostels, taxi ranks, informal settlements and townships.

However, she warned that circumcision did not prevent infection but reduced chances of infection.