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Sunday Times-South Africa
South Africa: Insurance boon for the HIV-positive

<p>Katharine Child</p>

July 18, 2013

An insurance company has thrown a lifeline to HIV-positive people that will ensure that they are treated like everyone else.

Sanlam has offered what it calls "normal" health insurance cover to HIV-positive people that does not get cancelled when they become sick or develop full-blown Aids.

Previously, life insurance cover was withdrawn when a person developed Aids.

Many companies deny life cover to HIV-positive people, whereas others offer it at such high premiums that few can afford it.

Life insurance is needed to obtain a home loan.

Once an HIV-positive person buys Sanlam cover, it remains in effect no matter how sick he gets.

The change in life insurance cover is a result of research that showed that people who take anti-retrovirals regularly for six months tend to comply with their treatment regimen for years and thus survive.

"[ People want] to hang onto life as long as possible. there should be little reason for anyone to stop treatment," said Pieter Coetzer, chief medical adviser for Sanlam.

Research by UCT actuary Leigh Johnson has shown that people on antiretrovirals have 80% of the lifespan of HIV-negative people.