South African Doctors’ Group Makes Deal With Laboratory to Reduce Cost of HIV Monitoring Tests By 50%
The Southern African HIV Clinicians Society yesterday announced that Toga Laboratories has agreed to reduce the price of its HIV monitoring tests for member doctors by more than 50%, the South African Press Association reports. Patients seeing a doctor who is a member of the society will now pay a pre-tax price of $47 for a full blood count, viral load and CD4+ T cell count test, a reduction of more than 50% from current prices (South African Press Association, 8/20). The three tests monitor the side effects of antiretroviral drugs, the amount of virus in a person's blood and immune system function. In a statement, the society, which has about 2,200 members in public and private practice, said it views the collaboration "as an important development which could ultimately lead to an increasing number of people living with HIV/AIDS being able to access antiretroviral therapies." AIDS activists also welcomed the announcement, calling it a "breakthrough" for the 4.74 million HIV-positive South Africans. "Offers such as this are crucial in increasing access to comprehensive AIDS treatment," the Treatment Action Campaign said in a statement (Reuters, 8/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.