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South African Natl AIDS Council April Newsletter

South African Natl AIDS Council April Newsletter

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The first bi-monthly newsletter to come from the newly revamped South African AIDS Council. HIghlights include a profile on one of the first patients to receive the country's new fixed-dose combination ARV and the formation of a Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism.
The first bi-monthly newsletter to come from the newly revamped South African AIDS Council. HIghlights include a profile on one of the first patients to receive the country's new fixed-dose combination ARV and the formation of a Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism.

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Published by: Laura Lopez Gonzalez on Apr 24, 2013
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Meet the new deputy chairperson o SANAC ..................................2New SANAC trustees come on board ................................................3Reaction to fxed dose ARV treatment .............................................4SANAC men denounce women and child abuse ............................6The civil society sector gets organised .............................................7CCM now in place to satisy Global Fund requirements ...............8New appointments at SANAC ............................................................10The last word - SANAC CEO .................................................................11Contact us ..............................................................................................11
SANAC NEWS
IN THIS ISSUE
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THE offICIAl NEWSlETTEr of THE SoUTH AfrICAN NATIoNAl AIdS CoUNCIl
W
elcome to the rst editiono the South AricanNational AIDS Council’s(SANAC’s) newsletter! Ouraim with this bi-monthly publication is tocommunicate to you the reader, inormationabout the activities o SANAC in its role o supporting the rollout o the government’santi-AIDS programme, whose plan isdetailed in the National Strategic Plan (NSP)or HIV and AIDS, TB and STIs (2012 – 2016).In supporting the Plan, the mainobjectives o the Council are as ollows … tooster dialogue between government, civilsociety and all other stakeholders and tooversee the countrys response to HIV, TB andSTIs; advise government on HIV and AIDS, TBand STIs policy, strategy and related matters;strengthen the governance, leadership andmanagement o the response to HIV, TB andSTIs at all levels o government; strengthenthe multi-sectoral response to HIV, TB andSTIs as a contribution to the overall socialand economic development o SouthArica, including but not limited to policyreview, programme management and co-ordination, technical assistance and capacitybuilding and sectoral support; mobiliseresources domestically and internationallyto nance the response to HIV, TB and STIs,including but not limited to estimatingexpenditure and resource needs, und-raising rom domestic and internationalinstitutions, including Treasury, donor co-ordination and investigating new sources o unding or the multi-sectoral response andthe NSP; ensure the monitoring o progressagainst the targets set in the NSP andensure mid and end o term evaluations orthe prevailing NSP; create and strengthenpartnerships or an expanded nationalresponse in South Arica to HIV, TB andSTIs among government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), donorso unds, agencies o the United Nations,the South Arican private sector and peopleliving with HIV, TB and STIs.A lot has been happening to pursuethese objectives and it is the intent o SANAC News to keep you updated ondevelopments relating to these activities.Read more in the ollowing pages.
ISSUE 1
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AprIl 2013
 
3SANAC NEWS2
M
mapaseka Steve Letsike is new deputychairperson o the South AricanNational AIDS Council (SANAC), takingover rom previous deputy chairperson,Mark Heywood. Heywood, Director o social rightsgroup, Section 27, stepped down voluntarily to “makeway or a change o management”.Although new to this role, Letsike is no stranger tothe country’s response to HIV and AIDS.She was the chair-person o SANAC’s women’ssector and was also the interim chair-person o theLesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans-gender and Inter-sex(LGBTI) sector. Respectively, the two sectors representorganisations and other bodies that work with and/orrun programmes ocusing on women and the LGBTIcommunity in the area o HIV and AIDS, health andsocial uplitment. These are roles that have suited Letsike quite wellover the years. This is evident in how she describeshersel. “I am a eminist, an activist or LGBTI rights anda deender o human and women’s rights”, she says.In 2009, the weekly newspaper, Mail & Guardian,recognised her as a orce to reckon with in these rolesand voted her as one o 300 young South Aricans youshould take out or lunch.Currently, she is the chair-person o the Civil SocietyForum (CSF) o SANAC. The CSF constitutes all the 17civil society sectors o SANAC and Provincial Council onAIDS representatives.Letsike’s resumé includes work with the Departmento Social Development, OUT LGBT Well-being and theOpen Society Initiative or Southern Arica. Currently,she is the Training and Advocacy Manager or AnovaHealth Institute, with a ocus on the health needs o men, especially gay men and men who have sex withmen (MSM), through the Health4Men project. She hasbeen in this position since 2011.Her other activities include, amongst others, beinga member o the Gender-Based Violence Council,member o the One in Nine Campaign and membero the Department o Justice and ConstitutionalDevelopment’s Task Team on Hate Crime/Correctiverape.Letsike is also serious about her own personaldevelopment. She is currently studying towards adegree in Development Studies.Welcoming her on board, SANAC CEO, Dr FareedAbdullah said: “Steve is a dynamic young leader whowill be making a huge contribution to the HIV and TBresponse in South Arica. Although she’s young, she’sbeen involved in SANAC or a number o years andunderstands the SANAC civil society sector so well thatit makes her a natural leader or this component o SANAC”.Abdullah urged “all the sectors in SANAC to work with her and to support her as we will do in theSecretariat”.
A
lthough SANAC (the Council) is the high level public ace o the AIDS, TB and STIresponse in the country, the legal entity through which it operates is the ‘SANAC Trust. The Trustees are responsible or the governance o the Secretariat and are appointed bythe Deputy President. On 26 February 2013, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, inhis capacity as the Chairperson o SANAC (the Council) appointed new Trustees to the SANAC Trust. The new members o the Trust are Justice Zak Yacoob (chairperson), Mr Yusu Abramjee, Dr BrianBrink, Rev Desmond Lambrechts, Ms Steve Letsike, Ms Prudence Mabele, Ms Vuyiseka Dubula,Dr Thobile Mbengashe, Adv Thoko Majokweni, Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba, Mr Happy Ntshingila, DrNothemba Simelela. The rst meeting o the new Trustees took place on 16 and 17 March 2013 and the new Trusteeshave taken on their new responsibilities with enthusiasm. The Secretariat welcomes the new Trustees to the SANAC amily.
Steve Letsike with scar),attending the civil societymeeting where she was electedas chair o the orum.
Inaugural Meeting o the new SANAC Trustees. From let: Dr Fareed Abdullah SANACCEO), Mrs Anu Yacoob, Justice Zak Yacoob Chairperson o Trustees), Deputy PresidentKgalema Motlanthe, Ms Steve Letsike Deputy Chairperson o SANAC) and Dr AaronMotsoaledi national Health Minister).
SANAC gETS NEWdEpUTy CHAIr
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anactivist  lgBTI ihtsan a eene  humanan wmen
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MorE rECrUITS joINSANAC BoArd of TrUSTEES
 
SANAC NEWS45
T
his month (April), some public sector AIDSpatients started taking simplied ARVtreatment o just one pill a day to managetheir inection. The South Arican NationalAIDS Council (SANAC) welcomes this change intreatment protocols by the Department o Health.“On behal o men in South Arica and organisationsworking with men and boys, we welcome the goodnews by the Minister o Health that the national HealthDepartment is introducing xed dose combination(FDC) anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment. In the processo rolling out the once a day ARV tablet, whichcontains a combination o three vital ARVs - Tenoovir,Eavirenz and Emtricitabine - the ARV programmeshould improve through increased compliance andmaintenance o patients on ARVs, including theintroduction o new patients to ARVs”.“Instead o taking several pills at dierent times o the day, the FDC allows or patients to take one pillonce a day, which will improve adherence. We haveto make sure that those who are still taking severalpills remain in the system and stay motivated, saidRev Baana Khumalo, the national chairperson o the men’s sector o the South Arican National AIDSCouncil (SANAC). The People Living with HIV sector believes that FDCtherapy will improve and strengthen adherence totreatment.“There are many reasons why people do not adhereto their medication. Amongst them are issues o highdosages or too many pills to take (which is also knownas pill burden) and side-eects. Too many people,about 70% in South Arica, have HIV and TB at the sametime and in most cases they have to take treatment orboth illnesses simultaneously. This means many o ustake ar too many pills and that discourages some notto take them. We need more simplied treatment toinuence adherence. The introduction o xed dosecombination therapy is a very progressive step towardsimproving and reducing actors that contribute topoor adherence”, says Vuyiseka Dubula, an executivemember o SANAC’s sector o people living with HIV.Fixed dose combination therapy will also applyto pregnant women, thus replacing the dualcombination therapy consisting o Nevirapine andAZT. All HIV-positive pregnant women in South Arica,during pregnancy and throughout the breast-eedingperiod, will be on xed dose combination therapyregardless o their CD 4 count. This will continue evenater breast-eeding i their CD 4 count alls below 350.In act, pregnant women are a priority group and arethe rst in line to receive FDC therapy as the HealthDepartment begins phasing in this treatment model.“This is exciting news indeed that we are startingto see a breakthrough and shit or the signicantimprovement o health and well-being or all peopleliving with HIV, especially mothers and children”, saidan executive committee member o SANAC’s children’ssector, Anthony Ambrose.“This is simpliying the way patients have becomeused to taking ARV treatment. Patients will nowtake one pill a day. This pill is an all-in-one packageo all three anti-retrovirals (Tenoovir, Eavirenzand Emtricitabine) that a patient needs or optimaltreatment. And they will take it once a day as opposedto taking a combination o pills three times a day”, saysDr Fareed Abdullah, chie executive ofcer (CEO) o the South Arican National AIDS Council (SANAC).“We have come a very long way since the advent o anti-retrovirals. At one point, patients used to take upto 16 pills a day”, Dr Abdullah adds.“This simplication o treatment makes takingAIDS treatment convenient. We hope that it will resultin patients complying with and adhering to theirtreatment. We hope that this will enable many morepatients to take their medication everywhere andanywhere they may be”, he says.Proessor Ashra Coovadia, chairperson o SANAC’schildren’s sector, advises that “it is important to inormthe public that whilst government will be rolling outthe new PMTCT programme with FDCs, the currentPMTCT programme which utilises AZT & Nevirapine tomothers and Nevirapine to inants is still an eectivestrategy”.According to SANAC CEO, Dr Abdullah, “noteverybody will switch to one pill a day immediately,as the Department will roll this out over the comingmonths. Patients who are on second line treatmentwill not be switched to the one pill a day treatment.Patients should talk to their doctors and nurses to ndout i and when they will switch treatment. There willalways be some exceptions, but by this time next yearthe Health Minister expects that 80% o all patientswill be on the new ormulation”. The rollout o the FDC therapy will be in twophases, with HIV-positive pregnant women, patientsnewly-initiated on ART and those who are co-inected with TB and HIV being prescribed FDCs inApril. Patients who are already taking treatment willbe switched to FDC therapy starting in July/August.Abdullah noted that within SANAC there weresome people who wanted everyone to start at thesame time, but there was an understanding thatthere will be phases to the rollout.“We appreciate the move by our governmentto introduce the FDC. But the government shouldequally put more eorts and ensure that we all getthe same treatment”, said Mluleki Zazini, chairpersono the PLHIV sector.But Zazini moved to make a call to all peopleliving with HIV that are aected by the phasing inapproach to “be patient and continue taking theircurrent treatment, considering that their health willbe compromised i they deault”.“The introduction o xed dose combinationsneeds all o us to do social mobilisation to educatepeople about this change. We also have to make surethat our supply chain management is not interruptedso that we do not have stock-outs o medicines”,added Vuyiseka Dubula, o the PLHIV sector.
SANAC oN fIxEd doSECoMBINATIoNS
(
fdCS
)
:
"
The intuctin ie se cmbinatinthea is a veessive ste twasimvin an eucinacts that cntibute t aheence.
"
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a-Rankuwa-based AIDS activist, AndrewMosane, is one o the rst patients toreceive xed dose combination (FDC)anti-retroviral therapy. He says thistreatment will make taking ARVs simple or him.“At the moment I’m taking ve pills every day –two in the morning and three at night”, Mosane says.“Seriously, it was a challenge taking ve pills on aday to day basis. I was taking AZT, 3TC and Eavirenz.FDC is good because it is easy dosage. It is a singlepill. You don’t get drug burdened or get tired whenyou have to take your drugs. It is also good because ithas ewer side-eects”, the 36-year old adds.According to the national Health Department’sguidelines on FDC treatment, pregnant and breast-eeding women, people who are taking anti-retroviraltreatment or the rst time and those co-inectedwith HIV and TB should be prioritised or treatmentwith FDCs. People like Mosane, who do not all underthese categories and are already taking ARVs, willstart switching to FDC therapy in later months. So,having him on FDCs already is an exception to therule.Asked how he got to be on FDC therapy, Mosaneexplained: “I am an activist and I wanted to take thelead in this. I’ve been taking ARVs since 2006 ater Iwas diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and my bloods werechecked or eligibility to switch treatment to anotherset o drugs. It was a right choice or me to take thatstep”.“About two months beore FDCs became availableI insisted on taking blood tests because I wanted tostart taking Truvada and Eavirenz and the resultscame back showing that I can switch my medications.But I did not want to start taking these drugs becauseI knew that the xed dose combination would soonbe available, even though I did not know when”.“By luck, it happened that the acility manager atPhedisong Clinic in Ga-Rankuwa, north o Pretoria,where the national Health Minister Dr AaronMotsoaledi, would launch the FDC therapy wantedsomeone to be on television to speak about their liewith HIV and how FDC therapy will help them. Mostpeople were araid to be on national TV, so I came inand took the opportunity and grabbed it with bothhands. That’s how I managed to switch onto FDCtreatment”.He lamented the act that “there are restrictionsto people who are already on treatment as therestrictions mean that they will have to wait longerbeore they can switch to xed dose combinationtherapy”.However, he believes the country is moving inthe right direction by introducing FDC therapy. “It isgoing to save South Arica some money. But we haveto guard against stock shortages”, Mosane opines.
Takin the ain ut  takin ArVs
Andrew Mosane with his pack o FDC ARV supplies

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