Private Problems: HIV-related care better in the public sector
The article states that many patients who cannot afford to contribute to medical aid schemes but who can afford GP consultations often eventually end up in the public sector, suffering from adverse effects in relation to HIV and/or TB treatment.
The perception that the quality of private healthcare and treatment outstrips that of the public sector is a specter that haunts this issue. The fact that patients continue to consult doctors who may not necessarily have the skills and knowledge to provide the best HIV-related care possible, indicates that the public are ill informed in terms of the where and the who of HIV treatment.
Through NGO and government cooperation, such as the Anova-Department of Health partnership, the public sector is provided with cutting edge HIV specialists. As a result the public sector is more likely to provide the level of assessment, treatment and monitoring that HIV-positive patients need.
Dr. Sindisiwe van Zyl and Dr. Oscar Radebe both provided extensive comment in the article, stating that general practitioners (GPs) often did harm when it came to administering treatment for HIV and TB.
Health4Men’s Dr. Radebe was concerned that some GPs were more likely to prescribe the most expensive and often inappropriate treatment schedules for patients. These patients often arrive at the Soweto clinic at which he works, suffering from drug resistance and unable to afford any further treatment.
Vignettes of those who have suffered at the hands of private sector GPs, painted a grim picture of the sector. Private GPs were often uninformed about the technicalities of HIV and treatment.
Sindisiwe van Zyl, a medical officer at Anova’s Tirisanong project in Johannesburg, explained that patients who suffered from TB and HIV co-infection could suffer from immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. This serious condition occurs because the body is essentially overloaded through simultaneous treatment for TB and HIV.
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