Enough is being done for those living with HIV, but more children should be saved – NorthWest Health MEC

Until access to more addordable AIDS drugs becomes a reality, government has responded “as best as we can for those living with HIV”, according to NorthWest Health MEC Dr Molefi Sefularo.

Speaking at the launch of his province’€™s mother-to-child transmission pilot sites yesterday (July 3), Sefularo said that “under present circumstances government has provided adequately for the treatment of these diseases (pneumonia, TB, thrush) in our hospitals and clinics”.

Sefularo was part of Health minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang’€™s high powered delegation to the United National General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS that was held in New York recently (last week).

He said that those people suggesting that government was giving no treatment to people living with HIV had to note that they were being killed by every day treatable diseases because their immune system was weakened.

“Therefore, the most important prevention of AIDS and death is to treat as aggressively and early as possible, diseases such as pneumonia, TB, thrush, and other opportunistic infections.”

NorthWest province has started supplying nevirapine to HIV positive pregnant women at two sites, one in Zeerust and the other in Rustenburg, as part of national government’€™s agreement to roll out two pilot sites per province.

This follows on Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, where the sites have been up and running for several weeks.

Nevirapine is administered to the mother and the child in an effort to cut down the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children.

Sefularo said the Tlhabane Community Health Centre near Rustenburg and the Lehurutshe Hospital in Zeerust had been selected to run the pilots.

He said the province’€™s aim was to follow urgently on the pilot phase with the expansion of the programme to the rest of the province.

“We shall do so as part of the national process,” he added.

“In the end, no child must be born with a lifespan predetermined by HIV and AIDS to be no more than five years,” said Sefularo.

He said government continued to support ongoing research in South Africa both on AZT and nevirapine.

“The government will continue to provide access to treatment for those who have sexually transmitted infections, counselling and tests for those who would like to know their HIV status,” Sefularo said.


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