26 April 2010

Zuma is HIV-negative

President Jacob Zuma is HIV-negative according to his fourth test taken on April 8.

President Jacob Zuma is HIV-negative.

This was according to his fourth test taken on April 8. He decided to reveal his results on Sunday at the launch of the HIV/Aids counselling and testing campaign in the Natalspruit Hospital, east of Johannesburg.

"After careful consideration, I have decided to share my results with all South Africans... to promote openness. I'm sure South Africans will know I am very open."

He told hundreds of people, who braved the icy weather to attend the launch, that his three previous tests were also HIV-negative.

Zuma is a polygamist father of 20 who came under the spotlight after he admitted in court in 2006 to having had unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman.

SA gets a billion condoms

On Sunday, Zuma said over a billion condoms were disseminated to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids in South Africa, which is world's worst affected country.

The provision for condoms had risen from 450-million in 2009 to 1,5-billion this year.

"We don't want anyone to say they (condoms) are finished."

The campaign, being piloted in all nine provinces, is aimed at educating and mobilising people to acknowledge their status, and receive anti-retroviral treatment. 

Zuma said the campaign, which sought to test 15-million people by the end of June 2011, was also aimed at reducing the negative perceptions and stigma surrounding the disease.

HIV/Aids is not a crime

"We have to work harder... to make all South Africans understand  that people living with HIV/Aids haven't committed a crime. We have to expand the knowledge and understanding of the epidemic to protect affected individuals and families. The stigma arises from fear, and fear from ignorance. Let us fight ignorance.

"The greatest benefit from the HIV testing campaign should be the education of our people and the promotion of the rights to human dignity and privacy of those living with HIV," he said.

ARV treatment doubled

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said since the beginning of April, the health department had increased the number of facilities providing ARV treatment from 500 to 1,000.

It also increased the number of qualified nurses administering the treatment from 250 to 850.

He urged people in positions of power "to take the lead and test  for HIV/Aids".

Along with his wife Nkele and Gauteng premier Nonvula Mokonyane, Motsoaledi took a public test on Sunday but declined to disclose his results.

"I've shared [it] with my wife because we tested together... I might disclose some other time but for now I'd like to keep it confidential."

Mokonyane also declined to divulge her status, saying she first had to speak to her family about her results.

Many of the guests at the launch got tested and were also screened for diabetes and tuberculosis.

The campaign's nine provincial launches is expected to take place on April 30. - (Sapa, April 2010)


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.