DP Ramaphosa lauds SA’s efforts to curb HIV

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended South Africans for their efforts to turn the tide on HIV/Aids.

“As we approach World Aids Day on 1 December, we are inspired by the many actions taken by South Africans from all walks of life over many years to fight Aids.

Thanks to your efforts, we have the biggest HIV treatment programme in the world, with nearly 3.5 million people on life-saving antiretrovirals, Deputy President Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

The Deputy President will on Thursday address the World Aids Day Commemoration at Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton, Gauteng. He will be joined by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, South African National Aids Council (SANAC) Deputy Chairperson Steve Letsike, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, MECs and representatives of civil society.

The Deputy President said today, South Africans are living longer and more productive lives, and fewer people are dying from Aids and TB.

We have dramatically reduced mother-to-child transmission of HIV. This has been made possible because all of us have worked together. We have risen to the challenge. We are acting in various ways – big and small – to spread information, fight stigma and promote healthy lifestyles, said the Deputy President.

He, however, warned that the fight against HIV and TB is far from over, as the rate of new HIV infections is still extremely high.

Of particular concern are the high rates of new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women. As we expand our treatment programme, we need to make prevention of HIV transmission a critical and immediate priority.

“We have no choice. We must act now to stop the spread of HIV and TB. We must preach and practice responsible sexual behaviour. This means using a condom during every sexual act, it means not having multiple sexual partners, it means getting tested regularly.

The Deputy President said the country will not overcome these diseases unless people work harder to overcome the economic and social problems that fuel their spread.

“We must ensure that all South Africans have shelter, food, water and decent sanitation. We must strive for gender equality in the home, in the community and in the workplace. We must stop violence against women and children.

“We must create a society in which people are able to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them. We call on all South Africans to play their part today and every day. The future of our country depends on you, he said.

With the theme ‘It is in our hands to end HIV and TB’, this year’s World Aids Day celebrates the progress made in the fight against HIV and serves as a call to action as the country redoubles its efforts towards the ultimate goal of zero new infections and zero deaths from Aids and TB.

On 1 September 2016, the Department of Health adopted new guidelines referred to as test and treat mean that all infected people are now immediately eligible for treatment.

Government has also adopted the 90-90-90 strategy: 90% of those infected must know their status, 90% of those infected must be on treatment and 90% on treatment should be virally suppressed.

Source: South African Government News Agency