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Motsoaledi launches new ARV treatment

HIV positive patients will now take just one anti-retroviral treatment pill a day.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi talks about the 2012 global Aids report and local data from the 2011 report. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

PRETORIA - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday launched a new fixed-dose combination anti-retroviral treatment which will enable HIV positive patients to take just one pill a day.

The Minister launched the new treatment programme at a clinic in Garankuwa, north of Pretoria.

The new drug will be available at all 3,000 government health care facilities across the country.

Motsoaledi said the new ARV treatment does away with HIV positive patients having to take several pills at different precise times throughout the day.

"The six-dose combination means patients take only one tablet every 24 hours. If you take one in the morning, you take the next one the following morning."

Motsoaledi said there are many benefits including improving drug regime compliance which results in better response to treatment.

"There will be lighter side effects. It is more effective and very affordable."

He said more than 930,000 people will start the new treatment on Monday, but it will be rolled out to all patients from June.

South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV/Aids.