July 21, 2015

Integrated health care model transforms HIV treatment in South Africa

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This post originally appeared on the UBC website.

Providing HIV care at local health clinics in South Africa has led to a massive increase in the number of people there receiving vital HIV treatment, according to UBC research.

Indeed, the number of patients receiving HIV therapy in these clinics soared to more than 57,000 from about 1,600 over the four-year period – an increase of nearly 3,500 per cent. Almost 44,000 of these patients had never been on HIV treatment before.

That’s a notable outcome, given that South Africa has among the highest rates of people living with HIV in the world – nearly 10 per cent of the population. The country also has some of the highest HIV and tuberculosis co-infection rates.

In addition, South Africa has the largest HIV-treatment program in the world. In April 2010, a national policy was implemented that stated that all South Africans should be able to access comprehensive HIV treatment and care at the clinic nearest their homes.

Angeli Rawat, a Liu Scholar and recent PhD recipient at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, has researched the impact of this integrated model. Her dissertation examined the implementation of HIV care at 131 primary health care (PHC) clinics in South Africa’s Free State province, representing a population of 1.5 million, between 2009-2013.

Rawat presents her research at the IAS 2015 conference in Vancouver, July 19-22. Here, she discusses some of the highlights of her work.

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