South Africa: A "Living Legend" Gives HIV Patients Reason to Celebrate
October 20, 2005
Johannesburg's Themba Lethu Clinic at Helen Joseph Hospital recently celebrated its first anniversary. Since the clinic opened, more than 7,000 HIV patients have been treated, 3,579 of them with antiretroviral therapy, the most at any health treatment site in South Africa. In recent weeks, the clinic has offered ARVs to an extra 100 patients a week.
"Words cannot describe how grateful we are. The incredible staff, headed by Sue Roberts, has been supportive and caring at all times. We need more people like her," a patient said.
The U.S. State Department's Bureau of African Affairs chief Jendayi Frazer commended the work carried out by Roberts' team. The U.S. provided funds to establish the clinic. "This would be a remarkable achievement in any setting," Frazer said, "but in a resource-limited public health clinic it is nothing short of miraculous."
Amid the celebration, some raised concerns about people who criticize ARVs and raise false hopes about "miracle products" to cure HIV/AIDS. Phindile Madonsela, who has been HIV-positive for eight years, said, "We are not guinea pigs. Vitamins cannot replace ARVs. We know nutrition is good but there comes a point where good nutrition and ARVs have to work hand in hand."
The Star (Johannesburg)
10.18.2005; Jillian Green
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.