Updated 07 July 2014

Millions of HIV+ Africans still lack medication

About 13 million HIV-positive Africans still don't have access to the life-saving medication they require.

About 13 million HIV-positive Africans still don't have access to the life-saving medication they require, the non-profit World Aids Campaign said on Wednesday, the final day of the African Aids conference in Cape Town.

People living in West and Central Africa are the worst affected by HIV and Aids on the continent. Only a third of them have access to treatment, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS).

Shortfall in funding

The main reasons for the lack of access are inventory shortages, corruption, mismanagement and a lack of political will to make sufficient funds available, delegates said at the conference, which began last Saturday in Cape Town.

Global Aids funding falls about a fifth short of the annual 24 billion dollars necessary to get a handle on the disease, according to UNAIDS.

"HIV testing needs to be simpler, quicker, more cost-effective and more widely available, so that we can fast-track life-saving treatments," said Michel Sidibe, executive director at UNAIDS.

The situation in southern Africa, meanwhile, has improved. High HIV/Aids prevalence countries – including South Africa, Malawi and Kenya – have increased access to treatment by up to 80 per cent, UNAIDS data show.



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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

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