The HIV/Aids epidemic in South Africa is not over and people need to recommit themselves to eradicating the virus, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said on Tuesday.
"Aids is not over while one person still needs ARV [antiretroviral] medicines, or dies of tuberculosis," Tutu said in a pre-recorded message at a Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) briefing in Johannesburg.
"It is not over until the evils that drive HIV, like rape and violence against women and children, are defeated." TAC board member Mark Heywood and Mango Groove lead singer and HIV activist Claire Johnston were among other speakers at the briefing. Former United Nations special envoy on Aids in Africa, Stephen Lewis, spoke from Canada via Skype.
'It is not over until the evils that drive HIV, like rape and violence against women and children, are defeated'
Tutu's message was part of the TAC's global initiative to raise R10 million by December 1, in an attempt to rid the organisation of its financial difficulties.
"Please show solidarity and prove your belief in others' humanity by donating to the TAC in the organisation's time of need," said Tutu.
TAC general secretary Anele Yawa said the organisation desperately needed funds to continue its campaign, which included representing users of the public health care system, monitoring clinics and hospitals, and providing HIV/Aids education.
Several donors had stopped their funding, believing the HIV/Aids epidemic in the country had subsided.
The campaign would involve several fund-raising efforts throughout the month.
People were urged to visit the organisation's website for details about donating to the campaign.