The objectives of the new up-scaled plan include reducing the rate of infection by 50 percent by 2011 and to provide ARV treatment to 80 percent of those who need the treatment.
Through the plan, more emphasis will be placed on prevention through information, education, widespread distribution of condoms and mobilisation of millions of South Africans to know their status.
The plan includes wide-ranging policy changes to anti-retroviral treatment, which will see upon implementation all patients with both TB and HIV receiving treatment with anti-retrovirals if their CD4 count is 350 or less, as opposed to the current situation where treatment is administered only if an individual’s CD 4 count is at 200. The new plan will also see TB and HIV and AIDS being treated under one roof.
For children under the age of one, treatment will be available if they test positive, and initiating treatment will not be determined by the number of CD cells.
The new plan will also allow pregnant HIV positive women with a CD4 count of 350 or with symptoms regardless of CD4 count to have access to treatment.
Also included in the new plan to tackle the deadly scourge and an area that will see heightened emphasis, government hopes to mobilise all South Africans to get tested for HIV, also announced on World Aids Day last year.
The President had made a call that every South African should know his or her HIV status, and he took his own HIV test on the 8th of April to promote the testing campaign.
A further shift from current policy – the new plan sees a move from voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT), a service delivery model that offers testing to all patients at the entry points in all health institutions – a model that hopes to get .
up to 15 million people tested by June 2011.
The model will also promote healthy lifestyles and increase access to treatment, care and support. All public health facilities, fixed and mobile, will be equipped to offer HIV Testing and to provide ART's.
Retired and non-practising medical staff such as doctors, nurses, and pharmacists were requested to make themselves available to the health system to support this initiative.