Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma on Thursday launched the new national strategic plan to fight HIV at a World AIDS Day event in Port Elizabeth.
President Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who chairs the South African National AIDS Council (Sanac), and Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet marked the 23rd commemoration of World AIDS Day at the Wolfson stadium.
The President said the new five-year plan represents a concerted intensification of South Africa’s sustained battle against one of the world’s biggest pandemics.
“The unveiling of this plan today also marks yet another milestone in our ongoing successful fight against HIV and AIDS, which has been commended by international institutions such as UNAIDS,” he said.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) welcomes the plan, noting that between last year and this year, about 13 million people have come forward to test for HIV, the number of public facilities initiating patients on ARVs has increased from 495 to 2, 948 and the number of nurses accredited to provide treatment has increased from 290 to 10,542.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions and the National Union of Mine Workers also joined the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in welcoming the launch of the new strategic plan.
"It is a bold plan. South Africa is showing leadership at a time when many other parts of the world are retreating from their commitments on HIV," the TAC said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi released the national antenatal sentinel HIV and syphilis prevalence survey which noted that HIV-prevalence among pregnant women in the country had increased from 29.4 percent to 30.2 percent.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 1Dec2011