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SUB CATEGORIES General  |  HIV |  Medical Schemes | 

Speedy diagnosis critical to managing HIV / AIDS

30 April 2010 Medshield Medical Scheme

As HIV / AIDS remains a vast global healthcare challenge, South Africa continues to experience one of the most severe epidemics of this terrible disease. The Honorable Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi's recent appeal to all stakeholders to participate in the national HIV campaign has not come too soon. Since early detection is by far the most effective way of managing this disease, key players within the healthcare arena such as medical schemes need to step in and help where they can.

Many medical schemes struggle to encourage HIV-positive members to disclose their status and register on a sustained program, which encourages a positive lifestyle. Part of the solution is for a scheme to partner with a credible and like-minded Disease Management Program (DMP) service provider. Access to appropriate treatment and care can substantially improve the quality of life of a person living with HIV / AIDS.

Medical schemes in this country are in a unique position to provide awareness programs and supportive benefits to HIV-positive individuals. But the first step is for South Africans to get tested. Medshield Medical Scheme is one scheme that is covering the cost of VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) for all members and their beneficiaries. Available to it's over 172, 000 members, free of charge testing can be conducted at any of the 234 Clicks Pharmacies around the country.

Thabo Mabeta, Medshield Medical Scheme Chairman comments, "Medshield fully supports the campaign championed by the Honorable Minister of Health Dr. Motsoaledi. The Scheme also endorses the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) initiative to encourage voluntary testing. The fact that infected members often register on a HIV management program at a late stage severely hampers their chances of fighting HIV / AIDS."

Medshield is committed to offering all members the best quality care and expertise. The scheme partners with Aid for AIDS (AfA), a service provider that offers a specialised DMP designed to fully support members living with the condition. Infected members are encouraged to join the program in order to benefit from their own dedicated, medically trained case manager; gain immediate access to virus-fighting medicines, vaccinations and vitamins; receive professional counselling on coping with the disease; and receive advice on positive living, nutrition and healthcare.

Adequate investment in prevention as well as treatment and support programs is crucial to any chance of reducing the occurrence of HIV / AIDS and related deaths in South Africa. Adequate testing is however the first step and is one that should be made as accessible as possible.

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