Thursday, March 16, 2006

AIDS Article

Found this article on about South Africa's AIDS crisis. Here are some important points if you dont feel like reading it all. Many I already knew, some were new to me:

-With over 5 million infected, South Africa has more HIV positive citizens than any other country on the planet

-Currently, about 500,000 people in South Africa urgently need antiretroviral therapy. I assume this means that 500,000 have CD4 counts below 200.

-The government and/or private agencies are treating around 200,000 leaving a deficit of 300,000 that will go without therapy and likely die from AIDS related illness as a result.

-50,000 children need ARV's, but only 10,000 are receiving it. (Personally, I would be suprised if 10,000 children in South Africa are on ARV's as I have encountered only one in my entire time here)

-One of the interviewees also argues that AIDS therapy should start at a CD4 of 350, not 200. I tend to disagree with this. In my study, those with CD4 counts in the 100's do just fine on ARV's. They respond well, they have good viralsupression, and low mortality. On the other hand, those who wait until their CD4 count is below 50 have a significantly increased risk of death and treatment failure (this is essentially what my paper is about).

Anyway, I am glad that the independent news is constantly talking about AIDS, even if many are tired of hearing about it (even myself at times). I think the SA government has fallen short and its up to the media to continue to make people aware that AIDS in South Africa is a pandemic of historic proportion.


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