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NPR Examines South Africa’s AIDS Response

Noting “South Africa has more people with HIV than any other country in the world,” NPR’s “Shots” blog and “All Things Considered” program examine how, “after years of delay and mistakes, South Africa is transforming how it approaches the disease.” The blog writes, “The South African government is simplifying AIDS care, cutting treatment costs and providing antiviral drugs to almost two million people every day,” adding, “The country just rolled out a new treatment regimen, which involves just one pill a day and costs less than $120 a year per person.” According to “Shots,” “The delivery of antiviral drugs through the public health care system has been so successful and saved so many lives that the overall life expectancy in the country has increased by eight years since the crest of South Africa’s AIDS crisis in the mid-2000s.” Francois Venter, who leads the infectious disease department at Johannesburg General Hospital, “credits the change in large part to the new health minister, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi,” the blog continues, noting, “He took over the position in 2009 as part of a Cabinet shuffle after President Thabo Mbeki was forced to resign.” The blog also profiles Sibongile Tshabalala, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2000 and has “benefited from a new government policy to make HIV services available at local health clinics” (Beaubien, 8/27).