Health Ministry asked to enroll HIV patients on ART

The Ministry of Health is asked to enroll newly diagnosed HIV patients on anti-retroviral therapy upon testing positive to increase the number of people accessing treatment.

The current World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health guidelines require someone who tests positive to wait for their CD4 cell count to go below 500 in order to be enrolled for treatment.

However, while commenting on the newly introduced triple combination drug, scientists led by Prof Peter Mugyenyi, the head of Joint Clinical Research Centre, said they want individuals put on treatment immediately after they are confirmed to be HIV positive.

Under the current guidelines only children, hepatitis B patients and most at risk populations, like truck drivers and sex workers are enrolled to treatment without the CD4 count cut off of 500 being applied.

According to the Health Minister Dr. Erioda Tumwesigye out of the 1.4 million people estimated to be living with HIV, about 600,000 are not yet on treatment and need to be enrolled.