An extra R1-billion would be needed to extend ARV treatment, bringing the total HIV/Aids budget to R13-billion, the minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi said.
“People like asking me whether the country can afford it. The answer is: Can we afford not to? Here is a disease that is blocking development in our country and we want to bring it to an end. That means we need to spend money and we will do so.”
HIV-positive people with a CD4 count of 500, likely to be still relatively healthy, will for the first time qualify for government-supplied antiretroviral medication from next year.
Motsoaledi announced Wednesday that an additional 2million people with HIV will be put on treatment in the next three years.
About 2.5million South Africans are already being treated with antiretrovirals.
The inclusion of those with a higher CD4 count – the count is a measure of the extent to which their immunity has been compromised – is in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.