Earlier this month, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) announced that it would roll out antiretroviral treatment at all its campuses for students living with HIV/AIDS, becoming the first university in the Western Cape to do so.

According to IOL News, the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the University of Pretoria (UP), are looking to follow suit, as they are in talks with the Gauteng Department of Health in a bid to offer ARVs and Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pills to students.

“With regard to provision of ARV and PrEP, the university’s clinic has to be accredited by the Department of Health (DoH) with regard to facilities and competence of nurses to issue medication. UJ is meeting all the requirements and is currently in ongoing discussions with the DoH to start with distribution,” said head of Institutional Office for HIV/AIDS at UJ, Rainny Nkhatho.

“University clinics must first receive accreditation to dispense ARVs and rollout, appropriate training of staff before introducing this as part of their health services,” added Wits spokesperson, Refilwe Mabula.

“Unfortunately, UP cannot currently offer ARVs directly to students, nor can any other university in Gauteng. Due to the Gauteng Department of Health’s very strict criteria and guidelines for the accreditation of ARV sites,” explained UPs spokesperson, Thami Mthembu.

“UP continues to engage with various stakeholders towards adjusting the policy position and expectations are that the changes in guidelines are likely to change in the short to medium term. Once this happens then UP will be able to offer ARVs,” he concluded.

With cost and a lack of access to medication some of the issues facing students living with HIV/AIDS, making it freely available to them would go a long way. It’s also something we hope other institutions take note of, and begin to offer as well.

[Source – IOL News] [Image – CC 0 Pixabay]