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TAC funds Free State civil society advocacy efforts to ensure continued access to ARVs

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During the period prior to the government roll-out of ARV’s, the TAC established a Treatment Support Programme funded by donations to ensure emergency access to ARV’s for people in need.  With the roll-out of the ARV programme in government facilities, we have retained a balance of approximately R750000 in the Treatment Support Programme account from which we are still supporting the ARV needs of a few individuals from the region.  The bulk of these funds are being retained to deal with emergency cases in future, but following the Free State moratorium on new ARV initiations from November 2008 to February 2009, the TAC National Council resolved to allocate R250000 to civil society organisations working in the Free State to ensure that there is not a repetition of this interruption of ARV access in that province.  TAC does not have its own office in the Free State, but is supporting the efforts of civil society partners there.  The use of these funds in the Free State is considered an important intervention to ensure uninterrupted access to treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS in the province – and thereby consistent with the overall objectives of the Treatment Support Programme.  We are in discussion with these organisations to ensure proper accountability structures are in place for the use of these funds before any money is transferred.