Plans to expand reach of ARV programme

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pretoria – Government has set a target to enrol at least 4.6 million people on its national Anti-Retroviral (ARV) programme.

President Jacob Zuma made the announcement while delivering the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) under the current administration, in Parliament, on Thursday.

He highlighted the milestones made by the country’s ARV programme, including the sharp decline in the mother-to-child HIV transmission rate.

South Africa has doubled the number of people who are receiving anti-retroviral treatment, from one million to 2.4 million people in 2013. 

More than 20 million South Africans have taken the HIV test since the launch of the HIV, Counselling and Testing (HCT) in 2010. This, the President said, indicates confidence in the health system.

Zuma said the turnaround in the HIV and AIDS programme was one of the biggest achievements of this administration, and the country was being used as a model by the United Nations Aids Programmes (UNAIDS).

“Life expectancy is now firmly on an upward trend. South Africans are now living longer. We acknowledge the contribution of the South African National Aids Council for the hard work.

“While celebrating our success, we must not be complacent. The prevention work must still continue so that we can reach that goal of zero HIV infections sooner,” Zuma said.

The President noted that the country would soon enter a new phase in the implementation of the National Health Insurance programme, which will extend quality healthcare to the poor. 

Other improvements over the past five years include 300 new health facilities, which have been built, including 160 new clinics.

“Ten new hospitals have been built or refurbished in Ladybrand, Germiston, Mamelodi, Natalspruit, eThekwini, Zola, Bojanala, Vryburg District, Swartruggens, Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain,” Zuma said, naming a few. –


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