As we highlight World Aids Day on 1
December it is encouraging to see there have been major advances in the
understanding of the disease as well as developments in its management over the
last decade. Gone are the days when it would be taken as a death sentence.
Today HIV is a manageable chronic disease like any other chronic condition.
Fedhealth's Principal Officer, Peter Jordan
says to date Fedhealth has over 2000 beneficiaries who are infected with
HIV/Aids and that are registered on the Aid for Aids programme. He says some
are on antiretroviral therapy already and others not as yet. "There are a
number of benefits of being on the programme. Over and above the payment of the
necessary medicine and pathology claims, the programme provides beneficiaries
with much needed support and advice on how to manage the condition. This
entails both clinical and emotional support. They are routinely called by
counsellors to check how they are doing, receive reminders when they are due
for bloods tests etc," says Jordan.
does the research say?
The results are encouraging with as many as
90% of the beneficiaries doing well on the programme. Jordan says research has
shown that beneficiaries who take their medicine regularly improve their bodies
defence mechanism and will have a substantially reduced incidence of
opportunistic infections which are largely caused from a weakened immune
system. "This effectively means they will live a near normal life-span
with an improved quality of life and fewer hospitalisations allowing them to
remain economically active and provide for their family."
Jordan says it is important to remember
that HIV/Aids is not a death sentence. It can be managed successfully and
anyone wanting more details can contact one of the national Aids training,
information and counselling centres (ATICCS) which can be found on
www.AidforAids.co.za for a confidential conversation