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IRIN PlusNews HIV/AIDS News and information service | Southern Africa | SOUTH AFRICA: Children lack access to HIV testing and treatment | Care Treatment, Children | News Items
Friday 30 June 2006
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SOUTH AFRICA: Children lack access to HIV testing and treatment

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


Only 3,000 HIV-positive children are receiving them

DURBAN, 10 June (PLUSNEWS) - Just five percent of South Africa's HIV-positive children - around 3,000 of the 60,000 in need of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs - are currently receiving them; the rest are still waiting to access the free treatment.

Moreover, in the past few years, only about half of all HIV-exposed infants have been tested, according to Professor Gayle Sherman of the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

"Infant diagnosis is far too limited," she said at the 2nd South African AIDS Conference in Durban, adding that in low-resource settings about 40 percent of HIV-infected infants died by the time they reached the age of one year.

Sherman said she was putting her hope of improved infant HIV-testing in the dried blood spot test, a method that was cheaper and faster, and required less skill than the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests often used for children.

Dried blood spot tests could be administered by nurses, for example, yet the method was as sensitive and specific as PCR testing.


Recent SOUTH AFRICA Reports
New strategies needed to meet shortfalls says Global Fund report,  29/Jun/06
New AIDS threat looms,  19/Jun/06
Govt wants to monitor PEPFAR funding,  12/Jun/06
HIV-positive Muslims take comfort in their faith,  26/May/06
'In the Continuum' gives HIV/AIDS a human face,  26/May/06
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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