TOMORROW marks the 30th anniversary of World Aids Day and the theme is Know Your Status. While HIV is manageable, about half of the seven million people in South Africa living with the virus are not on treatment. But a programme called GP Care Cell has been established to help those who don’t know they’re infected, and those who struggle to take time off work to queue at public clinics. The programme, which is active in Tshwane, has been running as a pilot project for six months. It’s performed 1 593 tests and put 326 people on treatment. It will be rolled out in Ekurhuleni soon. Programme manager Hellen Nkwagatse said: “We’ve set up networks of private doctors based around the city. “Anybody can come for testing, and if they test positive they’ll have a year of access to free care.” The programme is a collaboration between the national health department and the Foundation for Professional Development. It’s co-funded by the US president’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief Fund. The public can find the nearest doctor to their home or work by dialling *131*3041# on their cellphones at no cost. “After a year of free HIV treatment, patients are enrolled with the state’s central distribution programme and can collect medication from a pick-up point,” said Nkwagatse. ) Meanwhile, Deputy President David Mabuza will deliver the keynote address at the official government World Aids Day event at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto tomorrow.
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