July 16, 2013
Noting the WHO this month "issued revised guidelines saying that people with HIV should be put on antiviral drugs far earlier than was previously recommended ..., a move that could have huge implications for African nations where millions of people are infected with HIV," NPR's "Shots" blog and "Morning Edition" program examine the implications for South Africa. "If the country ends up adopting the latest WHO recommendations, more than one million additional South Africans could be put on antiretroviral therapy at public expense," the blog states. According to the news service, "[t]he new WHO treatment guidelines are widely praised in the country by physicians and activists as a step forward," although some in the country have "been opposed to the new global guidelines." NPR quotes a number of public health experts and policymakers on both sides of the argument, highlighting the issues of drug toxicity and stock outs in the country. Joe Maila, a health ministry spokesperson, "says there's no set timeline for deciding whether South Africa will move to put hundreds of thousands of additional HIV patients on drug therapy, but he says the ministry is seriously considering it," the blog states (Beaubien, 7/16).