26 March 2012

No new HIV infections in the next 20 years

The government plans to bring down new HIV infection rates to zero in the next 20 years, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said.


The government plans to bring down new HIV infection rates to zero in the next 20 years, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said.

Motlanthe was addressing workers and dignitaries at the Goldfields mine in Carletonville, Gauteng on the occasion of world tuberculosis (TB) day.

He said the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and sexually transmitted infections (STI) would aim at eliminating new HIV and TB infections, mother to child HIV infections, and have zero preventable deaths as well as discrimination associated with the two viruses.

Half new infections the next five years

Targets for the next five years would include reducing new HIV infections by half, ensuring that 80% of people who need treatment for HIV received it, and that 70% of these should still be alive and still on treatment after five years.

The plan also aims to halve the number of new TB infections and related deaths, create a legal framework to protect the rights of people living with HIV and eliminate the stigma related to both, within the next five years.

In order to support these targets, HIV, TB and STI interventions will be included in the work of all departments and the SA National Aids Council (Sanac) would establish provincial Aids councils. These in turn would create district and local Aids councils.

Motlanthe said informal settlements would be under the spotlight in the new plan:

Health programme in schools

"The second most critical area of our focus for the first year of implementation is the provision of comprehensive health services in informal settlements across the country."

Schools would also be provided with a comprehensive health programme.

Motlanthe said stigma and discrimination had hampered attempts to fight the disease, and that government was poised to fight this.

"Lastly, we want to prioritise the human rights and access to justice component of our interventions. We will embark on a country-wide, well organised campaign to address stigma and discrimination. This has been identified as one of the key activities in this first year of implementation," he said.

The campaign would also include mechanisms to ensure that where rights were violated, there was redress and justice.

(Sapa, March 2012) 

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

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