AEGiS-SAPA: DA Calls for Release of Aids Report South African Press AssociationImportant note: Information in this article was accurate in 2003. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date.
Click here to return to Associated Press main menu
Print this article

DA Calls for Release of Aids Report

South African Press Association (Johannesburg) - July 14, 2003

The secrecy around the Aids treatment report suggested government was looking for a reason not introduce antiretrovirals, the Democratic Alliance said on Monday.

DA spokesman on HIV/Aids Mike Waters was reacting to the Treatment Action Campaign's release at the weekend of what the organisation said were key findings of the report, which have not been officially made public.

Among the findings are that 1.7-million lives can be saved by 2010 if the drugs are given to everyone needing them.

Waters said the DA endorsed the TAC's call for government to move urgently to implement a national antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programme, and to publish the full report of the joint health and treasury task team on the cost effectiveness of this.

He said the published findings appeared to confirm the findings of previous studies that it would be more cost-effective to provide ARV treatment than not.

However, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's "failure of leadership" in the battle against the pandemic remained a serious concern.

"The delay in the consideration of the report by the Cabinet -- combined with the secrecy with which the minister has handled it -- suggests that she is looking for a reason not to implement an antiretroviral programme."

The fact that the minister had sent the report back to the task team with certain queries should not have stopped her from submitting it to Cabinet, accepting its recommendations in principle, and making the report public.

Earlier on Monday, the Government Communications Information System (GCIS) said the findings released by the TAC were from "a very first draft" of the report, which the organisation had already leaked to a newspaper several weeks ago.

GCIS said it seemed likely that because the issue would arise on Tuesday at the National Economic Development and Labour Council and because the TAC knew it would come before Cabinet soon, the organisation was trying "opportunistically" to place itself at the centre of attention.

"There is no need for theatrics in dealing with the matter of HIV and Aids: all of us need to cooperate in dealing with the comprehensive work required to fight the pandemic, an element of which is the issue of antiretroviral treatment."

Work was continuing on finalising the report for submission to Cabinet, and the matter was being treated "with the utmost urgency".

In releasing the findings, the TAC said it showed there was now no more justification for delaying a treatment programme.

It said the report found that the total cost of providing the drugs to all those needing them could be as much as R21,4-billion by 2010.

The activist group has sent the key findings to a host of organisations and politicians, along with a letter requesting they join the TAC in calling for an urgent meeting with government.


Copyright © 2003 - South African Press Association. Reproduction of this article (other than one copy for personal reference) must be cleared through the South African Press Association, Cotswold House, Greenacres Office Park, Cnr. Victory & Rustenburg Roads, VICTORY PARK, PO BOX 7766, JOHANNESBURG, 2000; Fax No: +27 11 782-1587/8, Tel No: +27 11 782-1600.

AEGiS is made possible through unrestricted grants from Boehringer Ingelheim, Elton John AIDS Foundation, iMetrikus, Inc., John M. Lloyd Foundation, the National Library of Medicine, and donations from users like you. Always watch for outdated information. This article first appeared in 2003. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor.

AEGiS presents published material, reprinted with permission and neither endorses nor opposes any material. All information contained on this website, including information relating to health conditions, products, and treatments, is for informational purposes only. It is often presented in summary or aggregate form. It is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professionals. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.

Copyright ©1980, 2003. AEGiS. All materials appearing on AEGiS are protected by copyright as a collective work or compilation under U.S. copyright and other laws and are the property of AEGiS, or the party credited as the provider of the content. .