Taming the HIV/AIDS monster in our lifetime?

Chris Bateman


She could have said that sufficient counselling rooms and trained staff exist, that the health system is ‘patient friendly’ enough to ensure most of the 1.65 million people who’ll test HIV positive in the massive new campaign will be treated and retained.
But Dr Nono Simelela, CEO of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), has lived through an era of political make-believe and HIV denialism as the country’s reluctant former AIDS chief. She knows the harsh reality of public health care delivery and some of the political arrogance that contributed to today’s shameful outcomes.
In the new era of HIV pragmatism Simelela is forthright about the challenges inherent in what is the most ambitious health care testing and counselling campaign involving HIV the world has seen. Testing 15 million of South Africa’s 48 million people by June next year – and then treating those found positive -- is no small task of an overburdened public health care system that easily tips into dysfunction, prolonging suffering and costing lives.
The success of the campaign hinges on the long overdue integration of HIV/AIDS care into mainstream primary health care, major financial and logistical private and NGO health care sector involvement, massive government financial backing and creative human resources recruitment.

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Chris Bateman, HMPG

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HIV/AIDS, health care testing campaign

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2010;100(6):346-348.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-05-05
Date published: 2010-06-01

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