South African Health Minister: HIV Rates Declining
June 6, 2008
Citing the data as proof of the efficacy of the government's policies, South Africa's health minister on Thursday said HIV rates among pregnant women had dropped for the second consecutive year.
Following much delay, South Africa last year rolled out broad increases in treatment access. More than 450,000 people had initiated treatment as of the end of February, Tshabalala-Msimang said. This, however, is about half the number of patients who need the drugs.
The health minister called South Africa's treatment program "the largest in the world," which she said "contradicts those voices that suggest that this government is not concerned about treatment."
Tshabalala-Msimang's report drew a sharp response from Sandy Kalyan, health spokesperson for the opposition Democratic Alliance. "Your persistent denialism that the pandemic is escalating, and your constant flirtation with AIDS dissidents is a disgrace to your ministry," she said.
06.05.2008; Clare Nullis
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.