ARVs now for any CD4 count

People living with HIV would from October start anti-retroviral treatment straightaway given any CD4 cell count upon testing, the government has announced.

This comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) had given new directives last year that anyone found HIV-positive must immediately be put on the life-long medications regardless of their CD4 count. 

The government is this time around still implementing the system whereby only those patients whose CD4 cell counts have gone below 350 qualify for the therapy. 

But, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya, told the Parliamentary Committee on Social Development and Services Committee that they are now going for the “Test and Treat” arrangement. Dr Ulisubisya noted this yesterday when presenting a report to the committee on the progress of the research finding of the HIV vaccination. 

He said under this new arrangement the government is expecting to reach 1.3 million patients out of total 2.4 million patients in provision of the drugs. Currently, the government has the capacity of supplying the drugs for only 700,000 people with HIV. 

National Aids Control Programme Manager, Dr Angela Ramadhani, said the government’s move to start the new system for HIV patients was in response to the WHO guidelines it issued last year after establishing the advantages for the patients to start the therapy immediately. 

Dr Ramadhani explained that the guidelines were a result of studies conducted in various countries which established that for the patients to start using the drugs before the CD4 going down was more safe. 

The programme manager noted that this week the ministry started going through the previous guidelines before the start of the new system from next October. 

Committee Chairman Mr Constantine Kanyasu, who is MP for Geita Urban, said the number of the patients who do not receive the therapy was still big, hence called on the government to allocate more funds from its budget for buying more drugs. 

He was also optimistic that more funds would be obtained from donors for such purpose since the latter had shown readiness for giving support towards purchase of the drugs. 

He recommended that the government could also consider allowing private dealers to sell the drugs, but at low prices that many could afford to buy. 

Highlighting on the development of the research on the vaccination, Dr Ulisubisya said through the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) it did the research in 2014. 

In 2007 and 2008, the vaccination was tested on 162 people and showed good results in addition to being health effects-free. Therefore, the research is now supposed to go for further steps before coming with full vaccination. 

ARVs now for any CD4 count ARVs now for any CD4 count Reviewed by on 10:29:00 PM Rating: 5

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