South Africa’s new health plan to treat tuberculosis alongside HIV for the first time aims to halve the TB death rate by 2015.
Launched in April, the plan which runs from 2012-2015 looks to place 3 million South Africans on antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) by its end.
The strategy was agreed by government departments, civil society organisations and academics to oversee the TB and AIDS epidemic in the country.
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South Africa’s TB rate has increased fourfold in the last 15 years and the government have stepped up testing and treatment for sufferers.
The plan proposes that each person infected with TB be treated with ARVs, regardless of their CD4 count (a type of white blood cell that fights infection),in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.
The strategy also identifies the "social and structural drivers of HIV and TB", such as alcohol and substance abuse, living in an informal settlement and migration as risk factors for contracting both diseases and will put in place interventions.
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