PRETORIA._ South Africa will launch a state and social program to combat the increasing spread of HIV and to enhance primary care for high-risk patients and communities.

The National Department of Health (NDH) announced in a public statement that a range of domestic companies had been contracted to respond to the national demand for anti retro-viral (ARV) drugs between 2015 and 2017.

South Africa will launch a state and social program to combat the increasing spread of HIV and to enhance primary care for high-risk patients and communities.President Jacob Zuma´s administration said that the general aim of the plan was to halt increasing purchases of ARV from foreign companies.

According to the NDH, licenses worth almost 900 million dollars that benefit various corporations, including Sonke, Mylan, Aspen and Cipla, had been issued.

The distribution of the pharmaceuticals will begin in the first half of the year and it is envisaged that this will add an additional impulse to existing government programs to combat the spread of AIDS in the country‘s nine provinces.

Under the terms of a contract signed in Cape Town between government officials and businessmen, some of the new medications will be produced from next April in a factory located in KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast. South Africa has the world´s most important ARV treatment plan under which medication is provided to 2.2 million people annually.

With 6.4 million infected individuals (from a population of 53 million), this nation has the world´s worst HIV epidemic relative to its total number of inhabitants.

According to the National Council For Human Sciences Research (NCHSR), this total has almost doubled since 2007 and the government´s objective is to reduce by half the incidence of new infections by 2018.

Statutory and civic agency sources describe the rate at which the number of new infections has increased in South Africa over the past three years as alarming.

South Africa will launch a state and social program to combat the increasing spread of HIV and to enhance primary care for high-risk patients and communities.The National Assembly‘s Public Health Committee asked the NCHSR to take an in-depth look at the matter and to initiate additional programs in order to halt the increase.

The non governmental organization Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has reiterated that an estimated 200 people die from AIDS every day in the so-called “rainbow nation“. The increase in the number of new infections should be a cause for concern for everybody. TAC spokespersons reported witnessing an increase in disease transmission among younger people in particular.

Meanwhile, Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global organization supporting people with AIDS, hailed the South African government´s decision to increase the number of patients receiving medical treatment.

In a message issued on their web page, the AHF especially praised the NDH for its decision to broaden the official criteria regarding the elegibility of HIV positive persons to choose anti retro-viral treatment.

The Department announced that this month it would start to offer treatment to patients with a relative cellular and lymphoid depletion clinical parameter of less than 500.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation highlighted that this statutory act also brings South Africa into conformity with World Health Organization recommendations that persons with a lower than 500 CD4 count should start on an anti retro-viral treatment.

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