4.6-million South Africans tested for HIV

4.6-million South Africans have already taken an HIV test since the launch of the government’s HIV counselling and testing campaign in April, at the same time 5.5-million have received counselling for HIV, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said during a World Aids Day this year in the province of  Mpumalanga.

While address to local Driefontein residents, Motlanthe said that about 2.5-million of those tested ended up also being screened for tuberculosis (TB), of whom 412 000 ended up being referred for further diagnostic assessments for TB.

The HIV counselling and testing campaign, launched by President Jacob Zuma, advised all South Africans to know their own HIV status and be screened for TB. The campaign intends to test 15-million men and women by June 2011.

It also is focused on screening for a range of other health conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

HIV, TB co-infection

Motlanthe pointed out that South Africa carries a high burden of HIV and TB, accompanied by a co-infection rate of 73 percent.

“All public health and wellness centres will provide prophylaxis in order to avoid TB when it comes to those with HIV infection, because this is definitely the foremost reason behind death amongst those people who are HIV-positive. These deaths are unquestionably avoidable, and that we can reduce this mortality.”

Driefontein resident Beauty Grootboom, who is living with HIV, said that a number of people were still in denial. “We must admit it, be brave and be strong,” she said.

Nkululeko Nxesi, from the National Association of People Living with HIV/Aids, said: “It begins with being aware of your status in order to obtain help and support, in addition to access to treatment. The campaign has received a positive response from the public, as more people are coming forward and getting tested.

“We will work with authorities to ensure that we achieve the target in the coming year,” Nxesi said.

One-million taking antiretrovirals

Close 1-million South Africans are at this moment on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. Motlanthe said that more than 200 000 new men and women have been started on ARVs ever since April, with more than 3 126 nurses having been trained to administer treatment methods.

“Between April and September, 20 000 pregnant women were on ARV treatment, when compared to 15 000 during the same time period last year. This represents a 28 percent improvement in 2010 compared to 2009.

“All of us need to therefore strongly encourage pregnant women within our communities to seek care early while being pregnant, in order that they and their children have the ability to make use of the programmes that government offers,” Motlanthe said, adding that this would most likely help reduce the number of babies born with HIV.

Aids Helpline – 0800 012 322

A confidential, 24-hour, toll-free counselling, information and referral service for those infected and affected by HIV/Aids. Backed up by the Aids Helpline website.

Source: BuaNews, allafrica.com, timeslive.co.za, allvoices.com, ticle.wn.com, welt.de


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