Clinton, Mashabane sign HIV/Aids deal

2010-12-15 10:39

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was excited by statistics showing South Africa was turning the tide against HIV/Aids, as she and International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane signed a five-year plan to fight the disease.

“We are here at a moment when South Africa is turning the tide against HIV/Aids,” read a copy of her address at yesterday’s signing in Washington.

“It is exciting to see, and we are already reviewing surveys being done by the South African government as the minister will, I’m sure, mention that shows HIV among youth is falling.”

The agreement falls under the US President Barack Obama’s President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) and emphasises sustainability, local expertise, co-ordination and accountability in the fight against the disease.

It will build on existing US support for South Africa’s efforts to provide HIV prevention, treatment and care.

The US embassy in SA said that this year alone, Pepfar funds supported treatment for nearly 920 000 adults and children in South Africa, while more than five million South Africans have been tested for HIV and received HIV counselling with US support.

Clinton said the partnership embodied a new level of co-operation made possible by the “tremendous efforts of the South African government”.

Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa had put 1.1 million people into HIV and Aids treatment.

“We have tested more than five million South Africans. And with Dr [Aaron] Motsoaledi, our minister of health, in the next less-than-18 months, we’ll have tested about 15 million South Africans who should really take responsibility to take care of themselves, but also take care of their loved ones.”

She thanked the US government for its support, saying it was “turning the tide at home”.
She said the R2.3 billion the US contributed to the R6-billion programme “will go a long way”.

Motsoaledi said in Pretoria yesterday that of the 4.8 million people tested in South Africa since World Aids Day on December 1, at total of 905 000 (18%) were found to be HIV positive.

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