South African Department of health has not killed possibility of AIDS drug provision, letter says

“It is incorrect to state [as a May 14 Guardian headline does] that the South African government has ‘killed’ the possibility of ever providing antiretroviral drugs for AIDS,” Jo-Anne Collinge of the South African Department of Health writes in the Guardian.

“The text makes it clear that, at present, South Africa’s minister of health, Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, believes there are other more pressing priorities in AIDS care that are likely to claim the limited health budget,” she says.

Due to the increasing threat of drug resistance, the “questions of safety and efficacy are acute in respect of antiretroviral therapy,” she writes, concluding, “The Department of Health is responsible for ensuring that our interventions are safe, effective and sustainable. Hence the minister’s emphasis on the training of health professionals and adequate health infrastructure” (Collinge, Guardian, 5/16).

Source: Kaiser Daily Reports

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