Parliamentary Question: DoDMV: SANDF memnber living with HIV/AIDS



Mr D.J. Maynier (da) to ask the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans:
(1) (a) How many (i) incidences of HIV and AIDS in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) were there in (aa) 2004, (bb) 2005, (cc) 2006, (dd) 2007, (ee) 2008 and (ff) 2009 and

(ii) persons were treated with anti-retroviral drugs in each specified month in the 2009-10 financial year and (b) what was the total cost and (ii) breakdown of such costs of anti-retroviral drugs for each of these specified months; and
(2) whether any surveys have been conducted on HIV and AIDS in the SANDF; if not, why not; if so in each specified case, what (a) is the title and (b) are the key (i) findings and (ii) recommendations of the survey.

(1): There are no statistics on the matter. I have consulted with the Minister of Health on this matter and he indicates that HIV and AIDS is not notifiable, therefore there is no obligation on members of the SANDF to disclose. This makes sense to me because I cannot conceive of ever asking the Honourable Member how many members of his party have HIV. The new policy on HIV and AIDS in the SANDF is one that seeks to remove all discrimination around HIV and AIDS.

We do have full details of treatments we give and have information on trials we conduct and programmes we run.

The disease profile of immune-compromised members represents a complex and extensive pattern that includes the treatment of all opportunistic infections and AIDS-related illnesses such as tuberculosis, sarcomas, pneumocystis Jerovicii pneumonia (PCP), cytomegalovirus infections, candida, toxoplasmosis and Giardia Lamblia, amongst others. The management of this variety of diseases thus contributes to the overall HIV and AIDS cost drivers but it is extremely difficult to estimate the cost implications due to the comprehensive nature of managing them, as well as the multidisciplinary approach to management.

The total cost for this programme includes preventative programmes, treatment with anti-retroviral drugs, as well as drugs for the treatment of opportunistic infections of HIV and AIDS. These costs are covered by the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) budget and the conditional grant provided by National Treasury and forms part of the HIV strategy and expansion of the rollout of antiretroviral therapy as prescribed by the National Department of Health. To fund this challenge, the HIV and AIDS Option Funding of R26 million was allocated in the 2006/07 financial year and this funding increased to R32.25 million in the 2009/2010 financial year. Due to the new HIV and AIDS treatment policy of the National Department of Health to commence treatment at an earlier stage, the costs of antiretroviral treatment have increased. Therefore R33.5 million has been allocated to the SAMHS for the 2010/2011 financial year and R48 million for the 2011/2012 financial year.