South Africa Struggles to Provide Medications to All AIDS Patients
December 1, 2009
Thousands of HIV-positive South Africans have been unable to access free antiretroviral (ARV) therapy because of inadequate supply, with the worst shortages in Free State province, advocates say.
"[But] in our office we have affidavits [by people] who have been neglected, due to the fact of not getting medication in time," Nkwe said. Provincial authorities "have hated us, because they say we made them look bad," Mokhalipi said.
The national government has allocated an additional 900 million rand (US $120 million) to prevent clinics from running out of ARVs before April next year. However, TAC says the funds are not enough to prevent deaths, and bureaucracy is slowing their delivery.
"The damage [caused by] these shutdowns is absolutely phenomenal," said Francois Venter, president of the South African Clinicians Society. "People die."
"When people don't get drugs and they die, other HIV-infected people say, 'Why should we test ourselves for HIV if we are going to die anyway?'" said Nkwe. "And so the disease spreads and spreads."
Voice of America News
11.23.2009; Darren Taylor