Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has announced that all HIV-positive South Africans will have access to anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) by September this year.
The CD4 eligibility criterion for ARV medication will be removed from healthcare policies after clinical evidence showed the benefits of early treatment.
Leading HIV scientist Professor Salim Abdool Karim says that early treatment will reduce the chances of contracting an infectious disease or developing an AIDS-related illness.
We now know that these patients will do better. They will have fewer episodes of TB, fewer events relating to HIV such as pneumonia or meningitis, and they will have a close to normal life span.— Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Director for the Centre for Aids Program of Research in South Africa
In addition, early treatment may provide preventative benefits as the ARVs decrease a patient's level of infectiousness.
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