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Zuma and Gates talk HIV/Aids

2009-12-02 23:13

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma met with American businessman Bill Gates on Wednesday to discuss issues relating to the country's HIV/Aids pandemic, the Presidency said.

In talks at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, they discussed the need to scale up the prevention of HIV/Aids, the importance of the prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of the virus as well as the need to look at male circumcision as a means of prevention, said spokesman Vincent Magwenya.

On the issue of circumcision as a preventative measure, Zuma indicated that the matter was being looked into but that it needed to be communicated carefully to avoid giving an impression that circumcised males were immune to HIV.

"Mr Gates briefed the President about Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, a new initiative which proposes to test everyone and start all those that are positive on ARVs regardless of CD4 count,' said Magwenya.

"Other matters included strengthening the management of HIV programmes, especially the use of global funds, introducing business approaches to HIV prevention programmes, as the Gates Foundation runs such programmes in India at present for example."

Gates later met with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, in his capacity as Chairperson of the SA National Aids Council, to discuss more specifically matters related to the country's HIV and Aids programme.