Pretoria – Over 700 000 people are receiving antiretroviral (ARVs) treatment as the Gauteng Department of Health continues its fight against the scourge of HIV and Aids.
Since the inception of the programme in 2004, over 700 000 people in the economic hub of the country are on ARVs.
The department said the stigma and discrimination still remains a major challenge in communities and it contributes to denial and non-acceptance on one’s HIV positive status.
“Some of the HIV positive patients do not disclose their status for fear of rejection and discrimination. They provide incorrect residential addresses when seeking treatment which makes it very difficult to trace them when they do not come for follow up treatment,” MEC Hope Papo said on Wednesday.
To intensify adherence to treatment, the department is implementing a ward based outreach programme to assist with the tracing of patients who do not return for follow up treatment.
Earlier this month, the department awarded certificates to 270 professional nurses who had successfully completed training on Nurse Initiated and Management of ARV Treatment. These nurses are now qualified to initiate ARV treatment and they will be placed at various ARV sites in the province to improve services.
“Our efforts are beginning to bear the result, during the 2010/11 financial year, the province had 77 ARV sites and today this number has increased to 378. The rate of mother to child transmission of HIV has also dropped from 9% in 2009 to 2.9% in 2012,” said Papo. – SAnews.gov.za