More nurses trained for ARV treatment
Johannesburg - More than 620 Gauteng nurses have been trained to put HIV-positive patients on to antiretrovirals (ARVs), the health department said on Monday.
"This has placed the province in a strong position to implement new treatment protocols, announced by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe last week," spokesperson Simon Zwane said.
"The training provided has increased the capacity to initiate antiretroviral treatment in 169 clinics and community health centres throughout the province."
Motlanthe announced on Friday that treatment would have to be initiated when a person's CD4 blood count reaches 350 instead of 200.
Previously, treatment in this category was only open to certain "vulnerable" sections of society such as pregnant women and children.
All other patients had to wait until their count was 200 or below before being treated.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the government would budget R5bn for the first year of treatment with another billion rand added in the next financial year.
He said the ARV programme would be integrated into the future National Health Insurance.
Zwane said good progress is also being made in Gauteng with reducing the HIV transmission rate from mother to child (MTCT).
A high MTCT transmission rate of 11 to 14%, had been reduced in some facilities to less than 5%, he said.