Free ARVs for 100,000 by 2006, prime minister says

TANZANIA: Free ARVs for 100,000 by 2006, prime minister says

DAR ES SALAAM, 17 Jun 2005 (PLUSNEWS) - At least 100,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania will receive antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) free of charge by the end of 2006, Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye announced on Thursday.

"The target is to ensure at least 400,000 people are on free ARV treatment within the next five years," he said in a speech before parliament in Tanzania's administrative capital, Dodoma.

He added the government planned to expand ARV treatment, currently covering only 4,200 people out of at least two million HIV-positive people. The government recently bought ARVs for 17,000 patients across the country, he said, and that the drugs had already been distributed to 64 hospitals.

"There are plans to distribute ARVs to all government and private hospitals to enable more patients to benefit from the programme," he said.

A household-level survey conducted in Tanzania recently by the National Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with the Tanzania Commission for AIDS indicated that 7 percent of Tanzanians aged between 15 and 49 years were HIV-positive.

The survey also indicated that the rate of HIV prevalence was higher among women than men, with the prevalence among women averaging 7.7 percent while that of men averaged at 6.3 percent.

Moreover, the survey showed that HIV was more prevalent in urban areas, with 10.9 percent of the population infected with AIDS compared with 5.3 percent of the infected in rural areas.


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