PRETORIA, The South African government will launch a new National Strategic Plan (NSP) for the next five years on HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) after the Cabinet approved the five-year plan to guide the national response to the HIV epidemic, STIs and TB, at its fortnightly meeting on Wednesday.

The plan, to be launched in Mangaung, in Free State Province, draws on the vision of the United Nations programme of zero new HIV infections, zero preventable deaths associated with HIV and zero discrimination associated with HIV. It is also in line with the goals of the World Health Organization (WHO) for reducing TB incidents and mortality.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, supported by Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe and Members of the Executive Council (MECs) of Free State Province will launch the plan.

Ramaphosa chairs the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), a voluntary association which includes government, civil society and all other stakeholders committed to drive an enhanced country response to HIV, TB and STIs.

The launch of the NSP is one of the highlights of TB Month which is commemorated annually across the globe, to raise awareness about TB.

The Cabinet said in a statement here Thursday that South Africa’s response to the HIV and TB epidemics means that average South Africans now live nearly a decade longer than they did in 2004.

This fourth NSP seeks to scale up successes while introducing new strategies to prevent new infections, identify infected people sooner and successfully treat and care for them. It outlines the strategic framework for a multi-sectoral partnership to accelerate progress in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with HIV, TB and STIs. This is aligned to the National Development Plan, which acknowledges the profound effect that HIV and TB have in slowing national development, said the Cabinet.