South Africa has about 5.3 million people who are HIV AIDS Positive ; this is from a population of about 45 million people, meaning 1 in 5 adults is presently infected. The Health Minister has been accused of acting slowly in the distribution and use of available Anti Retroviral drugs. Official programs now treat 42,000 people, with an estimated 60,000 receiving private treatment, by these pharmaceuticals. The plan was supposed to reach about 185,000 patients by March 2005, with US Government sponsorship.
Many in the country distrust the motives of backers of these drugs, since obviously there is money to be made by the producers and distributors, and cite serious side effects . They also say that alternative treatments can be as effective; one woman , a nurse with years of experience in this field, has developed a treatment using raw garlic, lemon peel, olive oil and beetroot which is said to reverse the development of symptoms, decreasing viral loads and increasing CD 4 counts to the point where patients may be classified as HIV Positive but not AIDS sufferers. This treatment is endorsed by the Minister as being more readily accessible and cost - effective for many impoverished people. However that may be, about 300,000 people died during last year obviously not having received any effective treatment soon enough.