Procedures for HIV self-test kits will be put in place, says Ramaphosa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Proper procedures for HIV/Aids self-test kits are still to be put in place, even though the kits are currently available over the counter, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

The deputy president said the kits were a new phenomenon here and the Pharmacy Council of SA was finalising standard operation procedures.

He was responding to questions in the National Council of Provinces.

Topics included the country's plans for HIV/Aids, race and social cohesion, wage inequalities and actions taken regarding the Marikana report.

Ramaphosa said the tests were only for screening purposes, and those who had positive results still had to be formally tested.

He said government continued to face challenges with HIV/Aids and he encouraged sexually-active South Africans to be tested.

To deal with one of the challenges, the government would launch a programme aimed at dealing with the needs of sex workers, Ramaphosa said.

Earlier in the day, health minister Aaron Motsoaledi said as many as 70% of sex workers were HIV positive in areas such as Johannesburg.

This was why the needs of sex workers would be in the spotlight on Friday when the country launches the National Sex Work Sector Plan for HIV in Hillbrow.

Motsoaledi said this was part of the ongoing battle with HIV and Aids in the country.

"We have done our mapping and found that in places like Johannesburg, 70% of them are HIV positive. Yes, 70% of the sex workers," he said.

He said this was why there would now be a programme specifically designed for sex workers in the country.

"At the moment our programme was to give them condoms and run away."

But the sex workers complained that police ended up taking away their condoms, Motsoaledi said.

He said the programme would focus on what they could do for sex workers.

The minister gave the example of a database of 7 000 sex workers in Bangladesh, India, containing  addresses and  information on treatments.

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