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Reviews : New HIV treatment in Gauteng

Johannesburg - New HIV and Aids treatments will be available in all Gauteng hospitals and clinics from Thursday, the provincial department of health and social development said.

"The new guidelines ensure that all HIV-positive pregnant women and patients on TB treatment with a CD4 count of 350 or less will now receive ARVs [antiretrovirals] from government clinics and hospitals," spokesperson Mandla Sidu said on Wednesday.

He said HIV-positive babies, from birth to one-year, would receive ARV drugs irrespective of their CD4 count.

Previously, only those HIV-positive people with a CD4 count below 200 were eligible to receive the drugs from state institutions.

Babies born unaffected with HIV

Sidu said HIV-positive women with a CD4 count of above 350 would now receive Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) at 14 weeks of the pregnancy instead of 28 weeks as was previously done.

"This will assist in ensuring that babies are born uninfected with HIV."

In this new treatment plan, women with a higher CD4 count will also be eligible for an annual pap smear, Sidu said.

The victims of rape will continue to receive Post Exposure Prophylaxis without needing a police case number.

Sidu said those who did not fall into the above categories would still be eligible to receive treatment when their CD4 count was 200 or less.

Decreasing mortality rate

"This programme aims at decreasing mortality rate which is one of the key priorities of the health department in this term of office."

Gauteng currently has 73 ARV sites and plans are underway to open an additional 40 sites by the end of the 2010/11 financial year.

"This will not only increase the number of sites to 113 but it is also expected that the number of people on ARV treatment will increase from 250 000 to 400 000." - SAPA

Source: www.news24.com

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