Mchunu says stigma still a big obstacle in HIV fight

2011-10-13 00:00

STIGMATISING those who are HIV positive is still one of the principal obstacles to HIV prevention, provincial Education MEC Senzo Mchunu said yesterday.

Mchunu was addressing representatives from all the provincial health districts on behalf of Premier Zweli Mkhize at the Provincial Partnership Conference on HIV and Aids at the Royal Showgrounds yesterday.

The objective of the conference, which was hosted by the premier’s office, is to review the five-year (2007-2011) HIV and Aids strategic plan in order to determine progress made in the implementation of programmes and to identify achievements, challenges and opportunities in various areas of the province.

The strategic plan is to encourage people to curb new HIV infections within the five-year period, to ensure that those infected get quality care and to reduce new infections by half. It also aims to provide a package of treatment, care and support to at least 80% of people with HIV in order to halve Aids-related deaths.

Since 2010 459 670 people in the province have been receiving anti-retro viral treatment, 45 598 of them children.

“In order for us to win the war against the pandemic we need to continue to support those who are infected and affected and also deal with the issue of stigma that is associated with HIV and Aids and TB. Local Aids councils have an important role to play in this regard.

“As government we believe that for poverty to be eradicated we need a thriving agricultural sector that is mainly based on productivity, profitability and job creation …” said Mchunu.

The areas identified for the plan are prevention, treatment, care and support, management, monitoring, research and surveillance.

“The involvement of all stakeholders in the formulation of strategies and service delivery targets needs to be strengthened in order to maximise outreach and uptake,” said Mchunu.

• chris.ndaliso@witness.co.za

Since the establishment of the five-year (2007-2011) HIV and Aids strategic plan the incidence of HIV is estimated to have declined from 3,8% in 2005 to 2,3% in 2008. HIV transmission from mother to child declined from 22% in 2005 to 2,8% in 2010, according to Mchunu.

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