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Experts support Minister Motsoaledi’s latest ARV announcement

He says patients will no longer have to wait until their CD4 cell count is below 500 to receive ARVs.

FILE: A woman queues at Phedisong clinic on 8 April, 2013 during the launch of the new single dose anti-AIDs drug in Ga-Rankuwa, 100 kms north of Johannesburg. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - There has been positive reaction to a decision by the health department to administer Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to patients earlier.

Yesterday, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that HIV positive patients would no longer have to wait till their CD4 cell count is below 500 to receive ARVs and would now begin treatment immediately after diagnosis.

Director at the Centre for Aids Programme and Research, Professor Salim Karim, says this is the most appropriate time.

Professor Karim says the decision by the health department to administer anti retro viral therapy to HIV positive patients earlier will go a long way in prolonging the lives of HIV positive people.

Motsoaledi says patients will now receive the therapy immediately, once diagnosed.

Professor Karim says this is the most appropriate time to make this decision because the medicine has progressed over time.

"The situation has changed dramatically because the newer generation ARVs are highly effective and have very good side effect profiles - in other words, they are very good drugs."

LISTEN: Professor Salim Karim explains the significance of starting ARV treatment early