Described as a bold new programme, South Africa’s health Ministry this week announced that as of Friday it will implement an initiative that will see to it that all people with HIV begin treatment upon diagnosis irrespective of their CD-4 count.
Until this week, only HIV positive people with a CD-4 count of less than 500 were put on treatment.
People leaving with HIV with a count of over 500 are generally regarded as being in good health and for the longest of time those whose cell count was below 200 were regarded to be under significant risk of developing life-threatening illnesses.
The initiative, known as “Test and Treat” is in line with the country’s National Development plan and World Health Organisation’s guidelines, which aims to increase life expectancy to 70 by the year 2030 from the current 63.
South Africa has the world’s biggest treatment programme covering over 3.4 million people, with 11 percent of that population being women between the ages of 15 and 24.