Johannesburg — About 1 019 nurses in Gauteng have been trained to initiate ARVs to shorten the waiting period for people who need to be put on treatment.
Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC, Ntombi Mekgwe, announced during the department's budget for 2011/2012 that R1.912 billion has been allocated to strengthen the fight against HIV and Aids.
She noted that by the end of March 2010, a total of 416 941 people were on ARVs, adding that the department's target is to increase this number to 520 000 by March 2012.
"In order to provide treatment closer to where people live, ARV sites will be increased to 385 by the end of March 2012," said Mekgwe.
By the end of June 2010, 286 ARVs sites had been set up in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Metsweding, West Rand, Sedibeng and the City of Johannesburg.
Mekgwe also noted that mass education to encourage safe sex through schools, wards and NGOs has already reduced new HIV infections in youth between the ages of 15 to 24 years significantly.
The launch of HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign by President Jacob Zuma last April has begun to bear fruit, as more than 2.7 million people in the province had tested by mid June 2011.
Mekgwe said services for medical male circumcision will also be up scaled to reach 125 000 males by the end of March 2012.
However, TB remains a burden to the provincial health system, as it continues to be the number one killer among HIV positive patients.
"We have noted that admission of multi-drug resistant TB patients for up to 18 months at Sizwe Hospital disrupts their livelihoods, especially if they are breadwinners ... That is why we will soon launch the Community Multi-Drug Resistant programme to ensure that these patients continue receiving treatment while living with their families.
"These patients and families will be supported by Directly Observed Treatment Supporters," Mekgwe said.
GeneXpert technology has been procured and is already available at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic and Edenvale Hospitals. The technology shortens the waiting time for sputum results to two hours, reducing the probability of patients not coming back for results.
An amount of R299.468 million has been allocated to fight the scourge of TB in 2011/2012. This excludes management of TB at district level; and R82.851 million has been allocated for preventing and reducing substance abuse.