Will Escalating Spending on HIV Treatment Displace Funding for Treatment of Other Diseases?(Editorial)

Will Escalating Spending on HIV Treatment Displace Funding for Treatment of Other Diseases?(Editorial)

In 2009 news media regularly reported examples of adverse events in a public health system that, many would argue, is in crisis, with widespread work stoppages by overworked doctors, shut-down of critical units in hospitals, shortages of vitally needed supplies and equipment–all of which result in denial of treatment to patients or, at best, inadequate treatment. Newly appointed health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi honestly conceded that the public health system faces ‘very serious challenges’. (1) Many of these failures can be attributed to a combination of limited resources and management incompetence, but the burden of HIV/AIDS presents another serious, long-term problem that has contributed to a crumbling public health system. During the recent era of denialism and obfuscation, the government refused to provide life-saving antiretrovirals (ARVs) to hundreds of thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2003, under intense political pressure, the government began to increase spending on HIV treatment, and in 2009/2010 will spend R11. (4) billion (2) or approximately 13% of the R87 billion allocated to health in the 2009/10 budget. (3) In its 2007 HIV Plan, the Department of Health set a goal of treating 80% of those who need ARVs by 2011. (4)

Will Escalating Spending on HIV Treatment Displace Funding for Treatment of Other Diseases?(Editorial)

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