New York Times Profiles South African AIDS Medication Distribution Clinic
The New York Times on Saturday profiled a clinic in Khayelitsha, South Africa, that distributes antiretroviral drugs at no cost to HIV-positive individuals. The clinic, administered by Doctors Without Borders and the provincial government, provides HIV/AIDS treatment to about 330 individuals with "remarkable results," the Times reports. In the first year after the clinic opened, about 75% of 159 patients who participated in the treatment program experienced mild reactions to the medications, but only three ended their participation. After three months of treatment, HIV was "undetectable" in 90% of the patients, and after six months, most patients experienced "dramatic improvements," including improved abilities to fight fatal illnesses, the Times reports. Patients who participate in the treatment program have reduced the average number of illnesses that they experience each year from four to one. "We're very pleased with the results," Dr. Fareed Abdullah, deputy general in the Western Cape Province health department, said, adding, "We're very confident that it will be regarded as a best-practice model for all of South Africa." Doctors Without Borders imports from Brazil the generic antiretroviral medications used by patients at the clinic. The provincial government covers the cost of other treatments and tests and half of the cost of staff. Only about 25,000 of the estimated 4.7 million individuals with HIV in South Africa have access to antiretroviral medications, the Times reports (Swarns, New York Times, 2/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.