TAC: ARVs to save state time and money

2011-08-13 11:24

Johannesburg - Opening up government antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to more HIV patients will save the state time and money in the future, the Treatment Action Campaign said on Friday.

By treating everyone with a CD4 count of 350 or less, fewer people would contract opportunistic infections, which require added medicine and healthcare, spokesperson Caroline Nenguke said.

She said fewer infections would improve the quality of life for many people, reduce mortality and reduce new infections.

According to the TAC website, about 97% of people with HIV eventually contract an HIV-related disease like tuberculosis (TB) or pneumonia.

On Friday, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe announced that ARVs would be given to everyone with a CD4 count of 350 or less.

Previously, treatment in this category was only open to certain "vulnerable" sections of society such pregnant women and children.

R5bn govt budget

All other patients had to wait until their count was 200 or below before being treated.

Nenguke said a study in Lesotho found that patients who started treatment above a 200-count were 68% less likely to die than those who only started treatment when their count fell below 200.

She said the next step for government should be to offer ARVs to all HIV-positive people with TB, regardless of their CD4 count.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the government would budget R5bn for the first year of treatment with another R1bn added in the next financial year.

He said the ARV programme would be integrated into the future National Health Insurance.

About 5.38 million people in South Africa are estimated to be living with HIV, according to a recent Statistics SA report.

The number of new HIV infections for 2011 for those 15-years or older is estimated at 316 900.

  • j.malemmer - 2011-08-13 11:44

    Another waste of money that could have been used to better the education system!

      ZACommentator - 2011-08-13 12:32

      How about not having sex with loads of people? What about paying for your own problems?

      Enockay - 2011-08-13 12:35

      if it means saving lives then why not...proof that we have a state that cares about the people

      ZACommentator - 2011-08-13 13:16

      Nonsense Enockay, the ANC cares about themselves. And they use my money to do it. This is yet another rip off by the masses on the few.

  • Henk van Tonder - 2011-08-13 12:01

    I see the running dogs of the pharmaceutical cartel (TAC) are back again, promoting their useless, toxic drugs. I sure hope a corruption investigation opens against this fake lobby group who bully the government into filling to coffers of drug companies.

      nixie - 2011-08-13 12:19

      why useless? without these drugs people who are HIV+ do not stand a chance. With these drugs they are able to live long, healthy, productive lives. Are you speaking from experience, or with the ignorance of someone who has no foot in the medical profession? I am just curious.

      Looter - 2011-08-13 12:38

      so what about the 316 900 new infections? were they no aware of HIV or how it was transmitted in todays age? help people with real health issues who did not bring it upon themselves. cancer, diabetes, hypersensitivity and the list goes on and on. What this message says is that its ok to get infected, cause the state will look after you? You dont get infected if you follow simple rules, and maybe 2% are infected due to rape....

  • Lestor - 2011-08-13 12:24

    Its horrible to say, but we shouldn't giving out free ARV's. If you make a bad decision and get infected you must handle the consequences. If you are born with it fine, it wasn't your fault I don't mind sharing the cost with you. ARV's are not a cure, they are just costing billions and it is not even fixing nor helping the problem, treating symptoms does no good. We all die, HIV or no, prolonging it at the expense of everybody else is not helping things. I feel for you I truly do but not enough to pay for your mistakes for my entire life.

      ZACommentator - 2011-08-13 12:33


      Enockay - 2011-08-13 12:42

      well its better than paying for idiots like Malema/ministers/MPs who waste or abuse your tax money,so I would rather pay for people's mistakes coz then again we all human we make mistakes,rather that...but Malema and all the idiots wasting our tax money dont feel like they making mistakes,so where would you rather your tax money go...saving lives or to idiots like Malema and our ANC idiots to waste?

      Lestor - 2011-08-13 12:46

      Enockay, its not one or the other. Its politicians stealing our money or politicians stealing our money and paying for peoples mistakes.

      Enockay - 2011-08-13 13:09

      you cant be happy that your tax money is paying for every wife/baby Zuma decides to have...we could probably be paying tons of our tax money to fund Zuma's many wives and more than 20 kids...that is tax money utterly wasted...on a greedy president who cant help money spent on helping people live longer is tax money well happier paying tax knowing that my money is saving lives than funding what zuma does with his willy...

      Marcell - 2011-08-13 14:02

      As per tradition these morons don't take responsibility for their actions.

  • tiotudg - 2011-08-13 12:43

    Gaan voort om in sonde te leef - as jy siek word daavan sal die belastingbetaler daarvoor betaal; as jy 'n kind verwek, sal die belastingbetaler joy help om in sonde die kind te vermoor, sodat jy kan voorgaan in sonde.

      50something - 2011-08-13 13:02

      So true, so true. See my posting below. Why am I not scared of contracting AIDS?

      nixie - 2011-08-13 13:14

      It is important to realise that unlike cancer, HIV is a communicable disease and thus poses a public health risk. From the comments here it seems as though people are advocating for our government to keep out of the matter and let the people who are infected die, 'because they deserve it'. The arguments made here are not new - they have been voiced by various groups of people in the past. Have we not as a species moved beyond blaming individuals, to understanding the social aspects of disease and its treatment. Just because you don't understand the rationale behind people's behaviour does not mean that there is no rationale. People behave differently in different environments and social circumstances. To say that you would behave as you do now under different circumstances (such as poverty) which seem foreign to you, is very ignorant. It is important for interventions to target the social aspects which fuel diseases such as HIV which is passed along (mainly) in such an intimate manner as sex. Gender inequality in our country is rife as is violence and other social ills. I have worked in HIV clinics for the past year, and about 80-90% of individuals who receive their medication there are committed to living healthily and respect others in their behaviour. How can we deny these individuals a chance to life.

      Marcell - 2011-08-13 14:13

      @nixie. So, poverty makes people screwing around? People should take responsibility for their actions. Screwing around is a 1000 year old cultural tradition. All the money in the world is not going to change it. Why waste money that should be used to uplift the poor, ie. education???? We, the taxpayers know it is not sustainable. The sh1t is going to hit the fan when all these things that is dished out comes to an end due to the lack of $$$.

      Marcell - 2011-08-13 14:16

      How can we deny these individuals a chance to life. Easy, They must take responsibility for their action. Period!!!!!!

      helizna - 2011-08-14 11:20

      @Marcell You know on avg. poor people have more sex. and more babies. And girls get raped more often in poor communities. And husbands with AIDS infect their wives. So how does the poor wife take responsibility for her husband's infidelity?. So HIV spreads faster with people who can't financially afford to take responsibility. I should help the helpless. I can't speak for you. But if I would contract AIDS, I would need ARV's. And right away. No one chooses to have HIV.

  • 50something - 2011-08-13 12:58

    Opening up treatment will make people less careful in their personal behaviour, less condoms, more AIDS. I do not have any sympathy - AIDS is a choice for the vast majority and I resent the "ag shame" attitude that everyone has on this subject. AIDS is costing this country dearly. I truly feel imensly sorry for those that have to suffer, mostly children, because of the immoral behaviour of their parents and others and those that contract the disease by means of unhygenic practises or blood tranfusions. So shoot me, but that is my view.

  • nixie - 2011-08-13 15:02

    I am not saying poverty "makes people screw around" nor am I saying that people should not take responsibility for their actions, that is why there are many interventions and campaigns focused on destigmatising HIV. At the same time, being on ARVs is not an easy task and requires great responsibility from those who adhere to this treatment, not only with taking the pills every day - it requires a complete lifestyle change. What I am saying is that people judge others without taking into account the vantage point from which they are judging (If I had to guess, mostly from middle-class perspectives). You were brought up in a particular way, just as others are brought up with other ways of doing. We often forget that these middle-class ideals we hold so dear are only possible to 'act out' when we are middle-class. The problem thus lies with (and here I agree with you), things such as education, but also with other social issues. I see that responses here mostly concern the government's spending on ARVs, but I would argue that our health care system today, and also the state of health of our population would look a lot different had it been given attention during the years of exclusion and oppression. As I've mentioned before, HIV is a public health risk, which is why no government who is in the slightest bit able, has declined to intervene in this matter. Are you suggesting we let this thing spiral out of control and secretly judge those who are infected?

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