Various scientific studies have recently demonstrated that putting people who are HIV-positive on ARV drugs much earlier will help to extend their lives and to reduce the rates of transmission. All-too-often, that type of discovery fails to be implemented for the people would benefit most. But this week, the UN News Service, IRIN, reports that South Africa is changing its treatment policy to begin treatment when CD4 counts fall below 350, rather than 200.
I have spent a lot of time writing about the political barriers between good science and implemented practice… and this has been quite a longstanding pattern in South Africa. It is certainly encouraging to see progress without such blocks, especially in the country that continues to host the largest number of HIV-positive individuals in the world.