10% of ART beneficiaries in SA
Johannesburg - Ten percent of people worldwide on antiretroviral therapy (ART) live in South Africa, the SA Institute for Race Relations said on Tuesday.
"Nearly one in ten people in the world who receive [ART] live in South Africa," the institute said research had show.
"However, in 2009 nearly 1.5 million adults and 140 000 children were still in need of ART but were not receiving it."
Access to the treatment, which improves the health of people with HIV, increased more than fivefold in the past four years.
The proportion of adults receiving ART increased from 12% in 2005 to 64% in 2009.
The proportion of children receiving ART increased from 7% to 38% over the same period.
Nachi Majoe, a member of the Institute’s research staff, said: "This is considerable progress and the department of health should be commended for its efforts."
This was because of "serious policy mistakes" by the department's predecessors, Majoe said.
"Nearly one in six people living with HIV in the world today lives in South Africa, which has a mere 0.7% of the world’s population," Majoe said.
The decision to get more people onto treatment sooner was a major improvement. The government was criticised severely for public statements by previous health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang that promoted olive oil, beetroot and garlic, instead of medication, as a treatment for the condition, which leads to death if not properly managed.