Don’t be distracted by HIV/Aids successes – Motlanthe

2012-07-23 07:26

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has warned against complacency in the fight against HIV and Aids.

Speaking at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington DC last night, Motlanthe said: “We have achieved successes and great strides in the fight against HIV and Aids but these successes must neither distract us nor make us complacent.”

More importantly, he said, this is not the time to reduce our contribution to the fight against HIV and Aids.

More than 20 000 people are attending the conference, which is themed “Turning the tide together”.

Said Motlanthe: “We cannot declare victory yet as we are only just beginning to turn the tide.

“A comprehensive, robust, decisive and sustainable response to HIV is like climbing a mountain. Twenty years ago we were at the foot of the mountain. Our collective efforts, resilience and determination have brought us to within inches of the summit of the mountain,” he said.

Motlanthe also shared with the conference some of the successes achieved by South Africa in the past few years:
» 1.7 million people are receiving antiretroviral treatment;
» 20 million people were tested for HIV during the recent HIV testing campaign; and
» The rate of mother to child transmission decreased from 8% in 2008 to 3.5% in 2010 and to 2.7% in 2011.

“These achievements are integral to the overall success story of Africa as elaborated in the latest UNAIDS global report,” he said.

The UNAIDS report shows that the number of new HIV infections has declined by 20% since 2001.

It also showed that deaths due to Aids related illnesses in Africa decreased from 1.8 million in 2005 to 1.2 million in 2011.

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