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Batho Pele Principles

Waterberg District still leads with HIV

By: Emmaculate Cindi

Waterberg District Municipality in Mogalakwena is still the leading district in Limpopo province with the high rate of HIV infection. This was stated by the MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba during the World Aids Day Commemorations held at Bavaria village, Ga-Mathapo stadium.

Although the district has shown an increase, the province has recorded an improvement with the reduction of the virus. The new HIV infections declined from 24 738 in 2012 to 16 879 in 2016, mother to child HIV transmission has also decreased from 2.9 in 2012 to 1.2 % in 2016

“This 1.2% is caused by stubborn mothers who refuse to test when they are pregnant, they think we are doing this for them. We are not, we are doing this for your unborn baby so that when they are born in the next nine months, they test negative” said the MEC

On the eve of World Aids Day, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has commended the department of Health for introducing Truvada at the University of Venda. The Truvada drug reduces the risk of contracting HIV by at least 90% if taken daily.

MEC has made a plea to the community to refrain from defaulting from their treatment when they are seeking spiritual healing from churches. The province has over 350 thousand patients on ARVs and out of that, 166 thousand have a suppressed viral load and can now test negative if they do a rapid test. However if they default on their treatment they will become resistant to medication.

“I have a problem with prophets that tell patients to stop taking their medication once they have prayed for them, we do not have a cure for HIV and no pastor will heal you. Please continue with your treatment” pleaded Dr Ramathuba.

According to the Department of Health statistics, male life expectancy has increased to 56.6 years and female to 55.9 years in 2011, a life span of a human being is expected to last up to 70 years if not cut short by any diseases. Tuberculosis (TB) which is often found to be amongst those that are infected with HIV has declined to 78% since 2016 and 7% reduction to TB related deaths.

There has also been an increase in reported cases of elderly women being raped by boys as young as 24 years and infecting them with the HIV in the process.

Earlier before addressing those who came in numbers to commemorate the World Aids Day, MEC handed over a house to Maluleka family in Tenerrif, food parcels and furnisher to 24 orphans that share a house.