Journalist Liz Clarke tests her blood at a laboratory to check her HIV status.
Journalist Liz Clarke tests her blood at a laboratory to check her HIV status.

Concern over high HIV/Aids figures

By Sharika Regchand Time of article published Jun 14, 2012

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KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize has expressed concern that there were 329 021 people who tested HIV-positive from April 2011 to March 2012 in the province.

The figure was contained in a report tabled on Wednesday during a meeting of the provincial council on Aids in Pietermaritzburg.

The meeting was attended by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi; Mkhize, who is also the chairman of the council; and health MECs from various provinces, among others.

Issues on and relating to HIV/Aids, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis were also discussed, and each district in the province compiled a report on the topic.

The provincial report noted there was a positive attitude among people towards taking HIV tests. This indicated that efforts related to changing the behaviour and attitudes of people towards HIV testing had been effective.

In total, 552 441 people were currently on anti-retroviral therapy in KZN, while 12 477 people who had been on treatment had died.

The mission in the province was to put in place a well-co-ordinated, managed and effective response to HIV/Aids informed by evidence, aimed at curbing new infections, and ensuring a high quality of life for the infected and affected.

There were 34 978 TB cases reported in the eThekwini district municipality in the period under consideration.

And of the 22 331 TB patients who were tested for HIV, 15 864 tested positive. The total number of patients registered on ARVs increased from 133 638 to 143 113.

A challenge in the province was the reluctance of doctors and nurses to start children on ARV therapy at clinic level.

Remedial action that should be taken included that the quality of the mentorship programme should be improved, and that the number of uncomplicated cases seen by doctors should be reduced.

A total of 19 428 pregnant women tested HIV-positive during the period in question, and 91 percent were put on treatment.

In the uMgungundlovu district municipality – which covers the Msunduzi, Mkhambathini, Richmond, uMgeni, Mpofana, uMshwati and Impendle local municipalities – 2 430 people tested positive for TB, and 1 401 of 2 259 TB patients tested positive for HIV.

At present, 65 217 patients were on ARV treatment and 6 554 of them were children under the age of 15. - The Mercury

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