New HIV/Aids plan for KZN

2011-11-24 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal government says it has identified gaps and challenges that hampered the significant reduction of HIV infection in its 2007-2011 provincial strategic plan that expires at the end of this year.

The plan was developed by the provincial government and the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) to combat the Aids pandemic.

Among the challenges in the current plan is that sexually transmitted infections are still high.

Between 2010 and 2011 there were about 440 714 new cases. Although the partners were notified, only 22% of them were treated.

Condom distribution remained inadequate as only 18% of male and 27% of female condoms were distributed. Teenage pregnancy also remained high.

Treatment, care and support of HIV-positive patients remain a challenge as there is poor follow-up on patients on anti-retroviral treatment.

KwaZulu-Natal has the highest HIV prevalence of the country’s nine provinces.

Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize, who is chairperson of the provincial HIV/Aids Council, said another challenge is that there is very little information available to determine the extent of implementation and effectiveness of human rights education and enablement of environmental interventions.

Mkhize said all these challenges have been identified and amendments were made in the 2012/2016 PSP, which is due to be launched on World Aids Day in December.

Unveiling the new plan at the Royal Showgrounds yesterday, Mkhize said the current plan was not structured in a way that could produce the desired results.

“In the new plan the government’s institutional preparedness is sorted out. The province is the epicentre of the pandemic, so if we don’t make a difference then there won’t be visible progress nationally.

“The condom challenge was because there was no system of distribution. Also, young people need to understand the importance of having condoms at all times.

“We also have 4 500 youth ambassadors to conscientise young people about protection,” said Mkhize.

chris.ndaliso@witness.co.za

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