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MSF: Too soon to celebrate HIV fight

Doctors Without Borders say more needs to be done in the fight against the HIV epidemic.

Doctors Without Borders say more needs to be done in the fight against the HIV epidemic.

CAPE TOWN - Doctors Without Borders (MSF) South Africa say it is too early to celebrate the fight against HIV/Aids.

On Sunday, the world marked World Aids Day.

It was revealed that the number of people dying from the epidemic was decreasing and new cases among children are down by more than half.

Over 5 million South Africans are living with HIV.

Doctors Without Borders' Dr Tom Ellman told the Redi Tlhabi Show that it was too soon to celebrate.

"Celebrating is a difficult word to use in the context of HIV. There's no question that there have been incredible changes in access to treatment globally, but it's far too early to start celebrating. Doctors Without Borders are still working very hard with HIV because what we are seeing is an ongoing emergency with millions of people still denied access to treatment."

However, Ellman says there is improvement.

"The epidemic is turning and the greatest news of all is that we now know the tools to prevent and to treat HIV so it is possible to stop HIV. In South Africa, there have been incredible changes over the last 10 years. The life expectancy in South Africa has increased by 10 years simply because of the roll out of access to antiretroviral treatment, but there are many people being left behind."

Meanwhile, there are reports that there is a shortage of ARVs in the country.

A coalition of civil society organisations called, Stop Stock Outs, says one in five clinics that were surveyed have no ARVs or TB medication in stock.

The survey was conducted at over 3,000 public health facilities between September and October.

However, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has questioned the credibility of the study.

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