Western Cape surges ahead with HIV/AIDS treatment

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Excellent results have been achieved with the distribution of free Flucanozole medication to 200 HIV/AIDS patients in the Western Cape over the past fortnight.
Another 500 people living with HIV or AIDS would also will benefit soon as dispensing of the anti-fungal agent begins in greater Cape Town, Southern Cape, Karoo and the West Coast/ Winelands clinic districts.
Health officials said after the first fortnight of treatment with the anti-fungal agent, hospitals in the metropolitan area have reported excellent results against fungal infections that often accompany HIV/AIDS, such as thrush of the throat.
Pfizer distributes Flucanozole under the brand name Diflucan.
Over the past five weeks, consignments were sent to 11 Hospitals and 11 Community Health Services Organisation clinics which serve high sero-prevalence urban areas.
Supplies for another six hospitals and eight clinics and community health centres in the Southern Cape/ Karoo, and another eight hospitals and one community health centre in the West Coast /Winelands area, are in the pipeline.
Some 48 municipal clinics will soon be added to this network.
Tony Leon, leader of the official opposition Democratic Alliance on Thursday said the distribution of AIDS drugs in the Western Cape was progressing in leaps and bounds.
He pointed out that at Somerset Hospital in Cape Town, AIDS patients now receive free Fluconazole to treat secondary infections.
There is also a rape crisis centre where rape survivors can obtain a free preventative course of AZT.
"Health Minister Mantao Tshabalala-Msimang took a step in the right direction, when she agreed to let Pfizer supply free Fluconazole to the public health sector.
"But we are deeply disappointed that she has apparently reversed her decision to supply Nevirapine to 18 pilot mother-to-child HIV prevention programmes in other provinces.
"Government's attack on pharmaceutical companies has become a smokescreen for its own inaction.
Straight after the companies dropped their challenge to the Medicines Control Act, the Health Minister revealed that she had no intention to supply anti-retrovirals," Leon said.

17 may 2001 15:51:00

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