Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

17 May 2012

Patients in South Africa Increase the Use of Antiretroviral Treatment

via, by Carole Leach-Lemens

South Africa exceeded national targets for new patients starting antiretroviral treatment (ART) by around 50% between 2007 and 2011 – achieving treatment coverage of close to 80% of eligible adults – according to new research carried out by Dr Leigh F Johnson, actuarial scientist at the University of Cape Town, published  in the March issue of The Southern African Journal of Medicine.

From mid-2004 to mid-2011, the total numbers of people receiving ART increased from 47,500 (95% CI: 42,900 to 51,800) to 1.79 million people (95% CI: 1.65 to 1.93 million). The latter figure represents close to 80% of adult treatment coverage, according to eligibility criteria in use during this period (CD4 cell counts under 200 cells/mm3). Using current South African CD4 cell count eligibility criteria (under 350 cells/mm3), coverage achieved decreases to 52% (95% CI: 46-57%).

While the targets were still exceeded, children and men started ART at considerably lower ratios than women.

Women accounted for 61%, men 31% and children 8% of the total.
Effective HIV treatment significantly reduces illness and death resulting from HIV, as well as onward transmission of HIV. Evaluating the effectiveness of HIV treatment and prevention programmes requires monitoring access to ART.

Previous monitoring assessments have shown a dramatic increase in access to ART in South Africa. While these assessments have suggested South Africa was on track to meet the targets of its HIV & AIDS & STI National Strategic Plan 2007-2011 (the NSP), no formal assessment has been made, Dr Johnson adds.

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