South African government offers free antiretroviral to all living with HIV

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The South African government has come up with a new plan to provide free antiretroviral treatment for ALL people living with HIV/Aids, no matter the stage of the virus.

Until now, the free drugs were only available to patients in the later stages of the virus. But under the new policy, millions of infected people will receive ARVs far earlier. All HIV positive South Africans will qualify for anti-retroviral treatment from September regardless of their CD4 count (measure of immune system strength).

Long term research showed people who start ARV treatment earlier get less sick and are likely to live longer. People on treatment correctly stop the virus replicating are therefore not infectious so the more people on treatment ‚ the lower the new infection rate will be.

CCTV’s Julie Scheier has the story.

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