South Africa: Aids spending to top R5bn

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HIV/AIDS AfricaSPENDING on dedicated HIV and Aids programmes by national and provincial government departments will exceed R5bn within the next two years, according to today’s budget.

The Treasury says in its budget review that an additional R1,65bn has been committed to provinces over the next three years for their Aids treatment programmes.

The programmes are currently being run at 272 sites, and the health department says over 210,000 patients there are on antiretorviral (ARV) treatment.

"Additional funding should allow treatment numbers to double over the next three years," the Review says.

"Spending on dedicated HIV/Aids programmes by health, education and social development departments will exceed R5bn annually by 2009/10."

Funding to the Medical Research Council for HIV/Aids research and vaccine development, which peaked this year at R121m, drops to an average of R109m over the next three years.

SA is second to India as the country with the highes number of HIV-positive people in the world.

About 5,5 million people in a population of 47 million are living with HIV or Aids.

Researchers say in addition to those already on treatment, another 540,000 are sick with Aids but are not getting the ARVs they need.

source - Business Day