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Much needed ARV supplies arrive in Gauteng

The Gauteng Department of Health said new supplies of ARVs would be dispatched on Tuesday.

AIDS Awareness pin.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Department of Health said new supplies of antiretroviral drugs would be dispatched to health facilities around the province on Tuesday and throughout this week.

HIV/AIDS organisations said there was a shortage of specific types ARV medication for the past two and a half months across various provinces.

But the shortage has been severe in Gauteng, where more than a quarter of South Africans infected with HIV live.

Health spokesman Simon Zwane said people have not been taken off their medication.

"It's not as if there's been a dry out, drugs have been there. it's just that they haven't been available in adequate quantities. The National Health Department is addressing that issue."

He said a new batch of ARVs arrived at the provincial medical depot on Monday and they were in the process of ascertaining if they have got enough ARVs to cover Gauteng's sshortage.

The department announced that it had paid all of its debts to medicine suppliers.

Zwane said the National Health Department manages the tender for all antiretroviral provision, and continues to engage with pharmaceutical companies to release more drugs.

In 2009, HIV positive patients were allegedly refused ARVs in the Free State.

According to the Mail&Guardian, one of the patients, Nanaki Mohajane, died in Bloemfontein's National District Hospital in 2009.

Medical reports showed medical staff failed to give her life-saving ARV drugs.

Health authorities denied there was an ARV shortage in the province.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi had to intervene.