South African Health Minister Concerned Over Cost of New AIDS Drugs
August 7, 2007
On Tuesday at the opening of the Women in Partnership Against AIDS conference in Durban, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang expressed concern that the newer first-line antiretrovirals (ARVs) recommended by the World Health Organization could cost South Africa 500 percent more than current treatments.
Around 11.5 percent of 47 million South Africans have HIV/AIDS. In recent years, the country has stepped up its free ARV treatment program. Nearly 300,000 South Africans are expected to receive ARVs through the public health system by the end of the year, said Tshabalala-Msimang.
The minister's remarks parallel a recent report in which Doctors Without Borders warned that the high price of next-generation drugs risked making them inaccessible to HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries.
Tshabalala-Msimang also told conferees that South Africa plans to expand its distribution of free condoms and is researching how traditional medicines "can help in the fight against AIDS."
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.