Update on the National HIV/AIDS Programme: Summary
THERE IS A PLAN
LET'S BUILD A PEOPLE'S CONTRACT TO FIGHT
Fighting HIV/AIDS in a Partnership Against AIDS.
The fight against HIV/AIDS has many fronts: prevention,
treatment, care and support, in the context of development and
poverty eradication. There is a plan, a comprehensive national
strategy, based on the premise that HIV causes AIDS.
The impact it is beginning to make brings a message of hope.
The HIV/AIDS budget (excluding allocations from provincial
equitable shares) is set to increase ten-fold from R342 million
in 2001/02 to R3,6 billion in 2005/06
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What is happening with HIV prevention?
Prevention of HIV infection is critical, because there is no
known cure for AIDS.
Surveys confirm a high level of awareness amongst South
Africans and the young in particular. The Khomanani campaign,
with R98 million of government funds, is reinforcing this.
Government distributed 350 million condoms free of charge in
2002 - that will increase to 400 million in 2003/04.
Vountary HIV counseling and testing (VCT) is now available in
nearly 1000 public health sites and more funds have been
Government's programme to prevent mother to child
transmission of HIV, already the largest on the African
continent, is being expanded towards universal access to
Provision of anti-retroviral drugs to survivors of sexual
assault is now national policy and sites are being expanded.
Although an HIV vaccine is still many years away, progress is
being made with government support - Phase I trials of two
locally generated "candidate vaccines" begin this year.
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What is happening with treatment?
Public health facilities must treat opportunistic infections,
irrespective of HIV status. Government is working with
pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of drugs for these
infections. TB treatment is free in the public health sector.
We can strengthen the immune system in a number of ways,
including our programmes to reduce poverty, improve food
security and nutrition. The importance of nutrition for people
living with HIV/AIDS is stressed by the World Health
Organisation. Proposals for research into complementary
medicines will be channeled through the Medical Research
Because anti-retroviral therapy can improve the health of
people living with HIV/AIDS if used appropriately, government
continues to address barriers to introducing it - high drug
prices, weaknesses in health infrastructure and treatment
A joint Health Department and National Treasury Task Team
looking into resource implications of an expanded treatment
response, including antiretrovirals, is finalising its work for
Cabinet consideration - the response has to be sustainable. For
this reason, amongst others, the discussions started in NEDLAC
in September 2000, could not be concluded.
The Medicines Control Amendment Act will facilitate more
affordable drugs when it comes into force this year. South
Africa continues to work for an agreement in the World Trade
Organisation that will provide new opportunities.
Additional HIV/AIDS funding in the coming year will be
allocated for capacity building and training for better care,
and to set up Centres of Excellence, one per province, to
provide skills on HIV, AIDS and TB care.
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What about care, support and fighting discrimination?
Support and care for those affected is expanding. This
includes the impact of the social grant registration campaign
and increases in social grants as well as expanded home and
community based care programmes. The bigger HIV/AIDS budget will
extend this support. Khomanani is tapping public willingness to
help alleviate the suffering caused by the AIDS epidemic.
A number of initiatives focus on stigma and discrimination
against people living with HIV/AIDS, especially in the work
place. Government works with people living with HIV/AIDS in
fighting the epidemic.
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The challenge is to strengthen the Partnership Against AIDS
Working within the framework of the strategic plan to fight
HIV/AIDS, we are making progress. SANAC is being strengthened.
However, much needs to be done. The scale of the epidemic
requires still more intense efforts.
We can make greater progress as a nation if we all lend a
hand in Partnership Against AIDS. Our energies should be spent
fighting AIDS, not one another.
THERE IS HOPE. THERE IS A PLAN:
LET'S STRENGTHEN THE PEOPLE'S CONTRACT TO
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