World Bulletin / News Desk
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has denied reports of a shortage of HIV drugs in South Africa, which suffers from one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world.
"There is no shortage of HIV drugs," the minister said Thursday in an interview broadcast on state television.
"At any one time, we keep 10 percent of the drug to ensure [there are] no shortages," he asserted.
The minister conceded that patients at some hospitals and clinics had to stand on long lines to receive the life-saving HIV antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).
"Thirty percent of the total population across the world using ARVs is in South Africa," he explained.
"In 2004, we had 400,000 people on ARVs. Now there are over 2.5 million South Africans using the drugs," said the minister.
Motsoaledi said his ministry was planning to start delivering the HIV drugs to facilities closer to local communities so that patients could simply come pick them up instead of lining up at hospitals.
The health minister urged South Africans to use circumcision and condoms to reduce the risk of HIV infection.
"Circumcise and use a condom. Use double protection," he said, noting that male circumcision only reduces between 50 and 60 percent of the risk.
The UNAIDS and World Health Organization recommend circumcision as an important means of HIV prevention.
According to unoffficial 2013 statistics, the total number of South Africans living with HIV stands at about 5.26 million.
South Africa has a total population of roughly 53 million.Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Mart 2014, 13:12