In a groundbreaking initiative, nurses across various districts played a pivotal role during the launch of the ARVs4Me campaign. Launched in November 2023, the primary objective of the campaign has been to educate and inspire communities most impacted by HIV, emphasising the critical importance of initiating and maintaining antiretroviral treatment.
During these events, dedicated nurses have engaged communities in informative sessions, guiding individuals through various aspects of HIV treatment. Their efforts have focused on advising those infected and affected by the virus, stressing the significance of consistent treatment adherence. Participants have been immersed in activities designed to raise awareness about HIV treatment, debunk myths, and emphasise the importance of staying on the prescribed antiretroviral regimen.
During these activities, Anova Health Institute had the opportunity to speak to several nurses who shared their insights on treatment adherence in HIV. One of these nurses was Sister Corlette Sekgogoba, a dedicated professional nurse from the Diepsloot South Clinic who emphasised the relationship between ARVs and a client’s viral load. “ARVs don’t kill the virus but stop HIV from multiplying and destroying CD4 cells, a vital component of the immune system responsible for combating germs and infections,” she said. “ARVs prevent HIV from causing harm to the body, and individuals on treatment live longer than those who are not.”
Sister Corlette also pointed out the importance of consistently taking medication, stressing that taking HIV treatment as prescribed suppresses the virus, reducing the risk of transmission to loved ones. She also highlighted the positive outcomes for pregnant women living with HIV, as proper treatment can reduce transmission to newborns, allowing for the birth of HIV-free babies.
To streamline the treatment process, Sister Corlette explained that blood tests are done regularly to monitor the HIV viral load. “If suppressed, individuals can conveniently collect their medication from designated pick-up points, minimising clinic visits to twice a year or every six months,” she explained.
For those who may discontinued their HIV treatment, Sister Corlette encouraged them to return to the clinic promptly. “A lapse in treatment could lead to a compromised immune system, increasing susceptibility to illnesses,” she said.
The ARVs4Me launch, led by our committed nursing teams, proved to be a resounding success, reinforcing the collective commitment to ensuring the well-being of communities affected by HIV.
Visit ARVs4Me.co.za for more information.