Health minister backs HIV/AIDS policy

SOUTH AFRICA: Health minister backs HIV/AIDS policy

JOHANNESBURG, 18 Feb 2005 (PLUSNEWS) - In reaction to wide-ranging criticism of government's handling of HIV/AIDS earlier this week, South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang maintained that the country's policy is among the world's best.

"Very few plans are as comprehensive as ours, bringing together elements of prevention, nutrition and a variety of different treatments," the South African Press Association quoted Tshabalala-Msimang as saying.

However, the minister agreed that not enough had been done to remove the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS.

Meanwhile, the government target of having 53,000 people at 113 state-accredited health centres on free antiretroviral
therapy by March 2005 is still far short. Recent figures from the AIDS lobby group, Treatment Action Campaign, indicate that only 29,332 people were accessing the drugs.

[ENDS]


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