Zuma praised for commitment to fight HIV/AIDS

2009-12-01 14:58

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has renewed his government’s commitment to

fight the scourge of HIV/AIDS during a World AIDS Day event in Pretoria today.

He said government would play a leading role and wanted to build on

the foundation laid by his predecessors.

Zuma said: “As government we want to build on the foundation laid

over the past 15 years by presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema


Zuma said that he has seen the statistics on HIV/AIDS and they were

scary. “I know the situation is serious, I have seen the statistics. South

Africans are dying at a young age,” he said.

New measures that the government is going to implement in its bid

to reduce mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS and reduce the number of

HIV/AIDS infections includes:

*All children under one will get free ARV treatment if they test

HIV positive,

* All pregnant HIV+ women will receive free ARV treatment and

* patients with TB and HIV/AIDS will get free treatment including

ARVs if their CD4 count drop to 350.

According to Zuma the government will be embarking on a massive

campaign to test South Africans and he urged all citizens to test and ensure

that they know their status.

Zuma said that he knows his status but would take another test soon,

as part of the campaign.He also said South Africans managed to defeat apartheid and “we must

declare that together we can overcome this challenge, let this today be the dawn

of a new era”.

Zuma was praised by the UNAIDS executive director, Dr. Michel

Sidibe for his commitment to increase the roll-out of ARV’s and reduce the

infection rate by 20%.

South African National Aids Council (Sanac) deputy chairperson,

Mark Heywood said people with HIV/AIDS were still stigmatised and discriminated

against and called for this to change.

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