SA making headway in fight against HIV

Durban - South Africa has made good progress in the fight against HIV/Aids, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Friday.

"We are on the correct track; people living with HIV are living longer," he told a conference in the city.

South Africa's efforts to combat the pandemic were recognised globally.

"As a country, we have made significant inroads in our response and have begun to see the impact of our policies and strategies," he said.

A study by the SA Human Sciences Research Council (SAHRC) found that in 2012 two million people were receiving antiretroviral treatment.

According to the study, the prevalence rate increased from 10.6% in 2008 to 12.3% in 2012.

Motlanthe said that, hopefully, within the next decade the country would be able to achieve zero Aids-related deaths.

"Thirty years after the discovery of the HI virus, the world stands at a critical point where we seem tantalisingly close to declaring victory," he said.

A report by the UN indicated that the number of people with access to treatment globally had increased by 63%, and that Aids-related deaths were decreasing in countries where HIV had the strongest grip.

"The same report cautions us all not to become complacent because even though so much progress has been made, much more remains to be done," he said.

Motlanthe told delegates to the conference the National Development Plan (NDP) detailed problems in the country, but also defined in great detail what needed to be done to address these.

The country's development agenda required a healthy populace and health was a priority.

"We, therefore, do not have the luxury to spend more time planning. While acknowledging the gaps identified in the plan, our next step is to proceed with implementation even as we refine and align some of the gaps that have been identified," Motlanthe said.

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