PRESS STATEMENT: SANAC applauds Health Minister’s move to treat everyone with HIV
PRETORIA- 11 MAY 2016: The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) strongly applauded the announcement by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to implement test and treat, allowing HIV-positive people to access treatment immediately after diagnosis.
In his budget speech yesterday (10 May 2016) the Minister announced that the move to adopt the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on test and treat would commence in September this year.
“SANAC wholeheartedly welcomes this bold move by the Minister of Health, This is absolutely the right thing to do,” said the SANAC CEO Dr Fareed Abdullah.
“Early treatment will keep people living with HIV alive and healthier, but will also have a prevention benefit. The greater the number of HIV positive people with viral suppression the less likelihood of HIV transmission to an uninfected partner,” Abdullah added.
The World Health Organisation also recommends that people at “substantial” risk of HIV should be offered preventive antiretroviral treatment. In line with this and recommendations from the recently-launched South Africa’s National Sex Worker HIV Plan, 2016–2019, the national department of health will provide PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) to sex workers in 10 sex worker programmes from June this year.
SANAC’s assessment is that this policy is affordable given the Treasury’s additional allocation of R1 billion for ARVs. The Global Fund to fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the US Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have also committed additional funds to support test and treat. We expect the costs to come down even further in the medium term with new, better and cheaper drugs for first-line treatment.
For more information contact Kanya Ndaki, Communications Manager: 0832986100