HIV/Aids patients urged to visit clinics early

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pretoria - The Gauteng Health and Social Development Department has reminded people infected with HIV and Aids about the importance of presenting themselves early to clinics and hospitals for treatment.

"According to our records, almost half of the number of people who are admitted at our hospitals are ill due to conditions that are HIV related. Unfortunately, some of them are only diagnosed when it is already too late and this puts a huge strain on the health system," said Head of Department Dr Kammy Chetty.

Chetty, who was speaking on behalf of Health and Social Development MEC, Ntombi Mekgwe, during a candlelight memorial service held on Sunday in Vosloorus, said since the launch of the HIV Counseling and Testing Campaign in April last year, more than 1 million people have been tested.

The department said it would continue to encourage people of Gauteng to know their HIV status and take appropriate measures depending on their status.

Chetty said that by the end of March 2011, a total of 412 191 people had been registered on anti-retroviral treatment, noting that this has been achieved through extending service to clinics.

"By the end of March, we had increased the number of public health facilities providing this treatment to 278, this includes hospitals and clinics. People no longer have to travel longer distances to access this treatment.

"By the end of April next year, approximately 520 000 people will access this treatment from our public health facilities," she said.

The service was held in memory of the lives of people who died from HIV and Aids related illnesses and to support people living with HIV and Aids.

It also aimed at creating awareness around the need for care and support to Aids patients and the affected families, and to inform the community about prevention, treatment, care and support services available for people living with the disease.

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