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SA Health Minister says focus must be on prevention

Published by Tom Farrar
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South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has renewed the call for HIV prevention to be prioritised, reports Business Day.

As the number of HIV patients on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in South Africa increases, the government healthcare system will face increasing financial burden. Already the health budget for the 2010-11 financial year is up 33% from the previous year.

It is estimated that about 0.9 million people are now on ARV treatment in South Africa, and the government aims to increase this to 2 million by 2013. This works out to an average of about 1000 new people going on ARV treatment each day for the next three years. However, an estimated 1500 people become infected with HIV each day in South Africa, so even with the government′s ambitious plan, the rate of infection is 50% higher than the rate of people going on ARV treatment.

This shows that, unless prevention is prioritised, the epidemic will get worse and worse.

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