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Sunday Times-South Africa

Gauteng: Cost of HIV treatment to rocket




 

The cost of treating people with HIV and preventing new infections in Gauteng is expected to rise to R6-billion a year, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said yesterday.

She was speaking after a meeting of the Gauteng Aids Council, which consists of representatives of the government and of civil society.

Currently, the Gauteng government and NGOs together spend R3-billion a year on fighting the epidemic.

Though Gauteng's costs are expected to double, funding from the US government is expected to halve, according to the CEO of the SA Aids Council, Fareed Abdullah.

Money from the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, a US presidential fund for South Africa's HIV programmes, will drop from 2011's $500-million to $250-million a year by 2017.

Abdullah said the halving of US support "was not good news".

But he was pleased that the Aids Council had been able to secure agreement that this year's presidential funding would be at the same level as 2012's.

US donations to this country's anti-HIV efforts have been cut in the wake of the global financial crises.

But, in the next four years, the cost of helping HIV patients will reach R6-billion a year, said Mokonyane.

As patients on antiretrovirals live longer and more people start using them, the number of people living with HIV will rise, increasing treatment costs.

About 700000 people in Gauteng are on ARVs.

Gauteng health MEC Hope Papo said the department was taking over the HIV clinics run by the relief fund.

Abdullah said the provincial government takeover of the clinics in Western Cape and Gauteng was going more smoothly than in other provinces.

Mokonyane said that if young women stopped prostituting themselves it would reduce the number of HIV infections in the province.

She hit out at "sugar daddies", saying "too many older men thought it was normal to have sex with young girls".

Mokonyane said research showed that older men were the least likely to use condoms.



 


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Information in this article was accurate in March 14, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.