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Tuesday 27 December 2005
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Food for thought while waiting to die

Dear Diary

Today the Gauteng provincial health department said it was confident about meeting a March 2005 target to have 10,000 HIV-positive people on anti-AIDS treatment.

It proudly stated that 5,055 of that target were already accessing the government's free drugs.

But is news that just over 5,000 people are receiving life prolonging drugs really that great?

What about the thousands more who are in desperate need of the same treatment? Many of them will not even live until March 2005. Most don't have until next month.

Maybe I should be the last person to talk because I can at least afford to get my drugs privately, but that was not entirely by choice.

I was already three months on treatment when the South African government began rolling out free drugs at public health care facilities. Free treatment that was promised months ago. So many lives needlessly lost as health authorities dragged their feet.

It is estimated that about 600 South Africans die from AIDS-related illnesses every day.

I would probably have ended up as food for worms, had I decided to wait.

So when my doctor offered to have me enrolled in the government treatment programme, I declined because of their evident lack of commitment to saving lives.

This week the government was forced, by law, to make public its most recent figures on the national HIV/AIDS prevalence rates.

And while the long overdue report shows that AIDS figures are still growing, the Ministry of Health insists that the annual increase is not statistically significant.

But according to them, having 5,055 people on treatment in the country's most populous province (7.4 million people) is cause for celebration.

Who will be celebrating after the government has allowed this very treatable plague to wipe out its entire population?

Food for thought ... or maybe food for worms.

Forever Positive

Hayden Horner
[email protected]

Previous Entry :: All Diary Entries :: Next Entry
Diary Entries
Beyond the Borders of HIV/AIDS Treatment Strategies
HIV/AIDS Feminisation: A new wine in an old bottle
Antiretrovirals - The Wind Beneath My Wings
The Mis-education of HIV/AIDS Clinicians
HIV Prevention 101: Ignoring the Church's views on condoms
Stigma and HIV/AIDS: lethal bedfellows
In remembrance of our women and children
Maids, madams and the "terrible thing"
Internet love and inter-related HIV-prejudice
Previously eyes-wide-shut on HIV and religion
Love, lies and disclosure
Black pot and blacker kettle
Things better left unsaid on the bus
Food for thought while waiting to die
Test results not all good
Diary speaks back
The truth about disclosure
Dangerous myths and damaged angels

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