U.S. to remain involved in SA’s fight against aids

2015-06-11 09:47

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THE U.S. government has said it will continue to remain involved in South Africa’s fight against HIV/Aids.

U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard said while the world’s largest economy and South Africa’s biggest donor in fighting HIV/Aids is slowly ­reducing their financial aid, the U.S. intends maintaining a technical presence, staying ­involved at grassroots level and youth ­development.

Speaking at the side of the South African Aids conference in Durban, Gaspard said he was confident that South Africa would ­continue to roll out the world’s most successful HIV/Aids programme.

Since 2003 the U.S. president’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) has invested over R50 billion in the country’s fight against HIV/Aids. But an agreement in 2012 will see the slow withdrawal of their funding with the South African government taking on the bulk of the funding responsibility.

“Beyond the fiscal transfer as I travel around this country I’m not at all concerned that there will be a difficulty or struggle in finding capable leaders who will bring the same quality and ethos as U.S. participants did in the last few years,” said Gaspard.

He said the challenges faced in South Africa are “acutely high” but there are “things that are being done here” that the rest of the world can learn from.

Gaspard said the recent deal struck in Paris between the two countries’ poultry ­associations, which will see trade restrictions against U.S. producers entering the South ­African market relaxed, was linked to creating an opportunity for South Africans.

“If we look at HIV crisis, it is linked to questions of opportunity and poverty especially for young women. This deal will allow for more open trade between the two countries,” said Gaspard.

The agreement is linked to and allows South Africa to be included in U.S. African Growth Opportunities Act program (AGOA). This allows African products duty-free to the U.S. in areas such as fruit, wines, chemicals and metals

Read more on:    durban  |  hiv/aids

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