KZN plan aims to continue lowering HIV prevalence

2012-12-14 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL has made significant strides in fighting the spread of HIV/Aids in the province.

KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize yesterday told the media that while the province had become known as the “epicentre” of the HIV and Aids pandemic, there were now welcome signs that the battle against the virus was being won, “albeit slowly”.

Mkhize said a slight decrease in infections was the result of value added by all stakeholders participating in the Provincial Council on Aids.

The council directs all sectors of society to create “a cascading wave of social response through operation Masisukume Sakhe”, which loosely translates as “let’s work together”.

He said the province has recorded a promising decrease in HIV prevalence.

“There is a notable drop in the 2011 HIV prevalence recorded in KwaZulu-Natal with an estimate of 37,4% (still the highest rate in SA).

He said from 2009 to 2011, six districts — Amajuba, uMgungundlovu, Sisonke, Zululand, uThukela and eThekwini — had shown a slight decrease in HIV prevalence.

In comparion, the annual 2011 national antenatal sentinel HIV and syphilis prevalence survey this week showed increases in five provinces.

Mkhize said a plan launched last year by government aims to fight HIV/Aids on several fronts.

• The plan aims to reduce behavioural patterns that put men and women at risk of HIV, Aids and other sexually transmitted infections, through the implementation of focused programmes, targeting men and women aged 15 to 49 years old, by 80% in 2016.

• This plan also includes reducing the risk of mother to child transmission of HIV to less than 1,4% by 2016.

• Circumcision services are to be scaled up to reach 80% of males from birth to 49 years old, and to ensure that all men and women aged between 15 and 49 have access to condoms by 2016.

Mkhize said everyone has a role to play in fighting Aids.

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