ANGOLA: ARV treatment now available in Malanje

HIV positive people in Malanje used to travel long distances to access ARVs
Malanje, 12 September 2006 (PlusNews) - HIV-positive people in Angola's Malanje province will no longer have to travel up to 440km to the capital, Luanda, to access life-prolonging anti-AIDS drugs now that treatment is available in their area.

The government is hoping to provide ARVs in all the country's provinces by the end of the year. Of the 18 Angolan provinces, only three - Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul and Moxico - have not begun rolling out antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. People on treatment previously had to spend about 4,000 kwanza (US$50) on public transport that took eight to 10 hours to reach Luanda.

A programme to reduce transmission of HIV from mother to child is also available in Malanje, six counselling centres have opened, and a laboratory specialising in HIV testing and monitoring has been set up.

"Malanje is one of the provinces where the response to HIV/AIDS is working well, [based on] an excellent partnership established between the provincial government and Medicins Sans Frontiers [MSF] to ensure access to treatment and support to people living with HIV," said UNAIDS country coordinator Dr Alberto Stella.

MSF has been gradually transferring its programmes to the government to strengthen the capacity of the public health system.

Malanje has an HIV prevalence rate of 2.4 percent, while the national figure is 4 percent. However, Dr Stella pointed out that these figures were only representative of one group: pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in provincial capitals.

The annual survey of pregnant women receiving antenatal care in the public sector is an important indicator of HIV/AIDS in the general population, but with only 35 percent of pregnant women in Angola visiting antenatal clinics the data is limited.

Theme (s): Care/Treatment - PlusNews,

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