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South Africa Expands AIDS Program To Allow Earlier ARV Treatment

The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) on Saturday endorsed a new National Health Council policy to expand the country’s AIDS program “to allow people living with HIV to start antiretroviral [ARV] treatment earlier” by raising the CD4 count necessary to access treatment from 200 to 350, Agence France-Presse reports (8/14). Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi “said the plan would be integrated into the proposed National Health Insurance system,” SAPA/News24 writes (8/13).

SANAC spokesperson Junaid Seedat “cautioned that offering ARV treatment earlier is only half the battle,” PlusNews reports. “Our big problem was not that our threshold was too low, but that people are presenting for treatment too late,” he said, according to the news agency (8/15).