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People living with HIV and AIDS in Gauteng have received a new
lease on life as some hospitals in the province kicked off
government's Plan on Comprehensive Care, Management and Treatment
of HIV and AIDS today.
A major benefit for those living with the deadly disease is that it
allows for the provision of antiretroviral therapy (ARV) at public
The plan, approved by Cabinet in November last year, aims to
provide comprehensive care and treatment for people living with HIV
and AIDS, and to help strengthen the country's national health
Today, provincial Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa and Premier Mbhazima
Shilowa visited the Johannesburg and Chris Hani Baragwanath
hospital to check the facilities' state-of-readiness to implement
The hospitals are part of the five that have been accredited to
roll out the programme, together with Coronation, Kalafong and
An HIV positive patient at Johannesburg Hospital was overjoyed that
he would now be able to receive the life-enhancing treatment,
saying his prayers had been answered.
The 27-year-old, who chose to remain anonymous, tested HIV positive
in October last year and currently has a CD 4 count of 33, a
critical stage which makes it suitable for ARV treatment as the
drugs are only administered to people whose CD4 count is less than
"Since I tested positive, I've been praying that ARVs would be made
available before I died," he said.
His girlfriend and two-year old daughter who are HIV positive as
well are still very healthy and do not require treatment.
"Receiving the treatment means a lot to me as I have a child to
raise. I want to be there for her first day of school and her first
day of tertiary education and I need to be healthy to do that," he
Visiting Johannesburg and Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospitals today,
Premier Mbhazima Shilowa reiterated that although ARVs were being
rolled out, not everyone with HIV would receive it.
"Not everyone who is HIV positive requires ARV treatment but where
a patients CD 4 cell count hovered around 200, the individual would
then be introduced to it," he said.
Premier Shilowa added the programme would run as a pilot for the
next 12 months, and depending on public response and departmental
capacity, ways of expanding it would then be explored.
"In relation to capacity building, we will be employing 5 000 extra
health workers over the next three years to ensure the success of
the programme," he said.
An amount of R95 million has been allocated to the implementation
of the treatment plan in the coming financial year, which includes
R45 million from the national treasury and R50 million from the
The implementation starts in the five institutions in the first
quarter of this year and will expand to reach 23 identified health
institutions in the province by the end of the 2004/2005 financial
The first institutions to be affected by the implementation plan
are Johannesburg, Chris Hani Baragwanath, Helen Joseph, Coronation
and Kalafong Hospitals.
The aim of the department is to reach 10 000 people by the end of
March 2005 - BuaNews.