“If we don't put more effort on prevention, we might not be able to win the battle of HIV and AIDS,” Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said in a press release issued by the Department of Health ahead of World Aids Day tomorrow.
South Africa has subscribed to the global World AIDS Day target of getting to Zero by 2015, says Motsoaledi. The global theme for World AIDS Day comprises of three messages: “Zero new HIV infection”, “Zero discrimination” and “Zero HIV/Aids-related deaths”.
Motsoaledi praised current initiatives that have seen an increase in the number of HIV treatment sites resulting in over 1,9 million people on treatment. “In Feb 2010, there were only 490 testing sites. Today we now have 3
000 facilities, which are well-equipped in initiating HIV treatment. We have also increased the number of nurses who are certified and trained to initiate HIV treatment from 215 in February 2010 to 10 000 in April 2012.
“We have also reduced the rate of Mother To Child Transmission, from 8% in 2008 to 3.5% in 2010 and down to 2.7% in 2011. Our Medical Male Circumcision Programme is also doing very well,” Motsoaledi highlighted.
In an effort to urge the youth, and in particular young men, to get tested, this year’s World AIDS day is themed: “A re Dlale – Safe for Zero new HIV and TB infections.”
“We are trying to appeal to young people by making use of this theme that combines tsotsi taal, African Languages and English,” says Motsoaledi, who adds that it is vital to encourage safer sex practices to reduce the chances of HIV-infection.
The National World Aids Day event, to be held at Potchefstroom in North West, tomorrow, will kick off with a 4km walk followed by free HIV testing, culminating in a soccer match in the afternoon.