FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS INTENSIFIES
By: Lindokuhle Simelane
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that people living with HIV and AIDS should start treatment a little sooner.
Previously, the ARV drugs were given to people with a CD4 count of 350, but will now be given to people with the CD4 count of 500.This comes a few months after South Africa introduced the one pill per day programme, which saw HIV positive people taking one pill a day, instead of taking several dozen pills a day.
According to the Treatment Action Campaign, this programme could reduce the number of new infections.
Lungelo Khumalo, who lost a family member to AIDS said, “It’s about time.Since Kwa-ZuluNatal has the highest infection rate in South Africa, this whole 500 CD4 count thing comes late but better late than never.The Department of Health and Education should work together to formulate policies and curriculums to better educate kids about sex and HIV/AIDS.”
Dr. Zukiswa Mbabane from Jose Pearson TB Hospital said although this could have started a while ago, South Africa was unable at that time to acquire that treatment.
“WHO had suggested early treatment a long time ago, but South Africa at that time couldn’t afford the treatment.Even back then when WHO suggested that people with a CD4 count of 350 must start treatment, South Africa didn’t want to start people on ARV’s at all, up until they decided that patients with a CD4 of 200 should start treatment.”
This initiative is expected to improve the quality of life for people living with HIV as well as increase the life expectancy of AIDS patients.