UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, has launched a report in Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats which shows that 4.2 million people in South Africa have access to anti-retroviral treatment.
SA has an estimated 7.1 million people living with HIV.
Sidibé says the country also has an estimated 270 000 new infections each year.
He says about 2000 girls and women aged between 15 and 24 get infected weekly.
Sidibé has highlighted a number of reasons why UNAIDS chose Khayelitsha to launch the report entitled, the Right to Health. He says the movement which pushed for ARV’s to be given to the people started in Khayelitsha in the form of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).
Sidibé says there are currently more than 42 000 people on treatment in Khayelitsha compared to the national figure of 90 in the year 2000:
This report will be a defining moment in our fight, it’s not about pills, it’s about restoring dignity of our people and how we continue to respect the life of those left, rights will never be realised without the mobilisation of the communities.”
Twenty-five-year-old HIV activist, Cindy Mguye, welcomed the report on behalf of those living with HIV.
Mguye called for acceptance, love and support:
“Discrimination and stigma is a lot in our communities, we find it difficult for young people to disclose our status to the people that love us, we need our parents and community to love us as you used to love us when we were not HIV positive.”
Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says the country is strengthening its fight against HIV.
He says they’ll be implementing a fixed-dose combination of ARV’s in April next year:
“We are not doing something extremely new, all we are doing out of the combination of three, we are taking one out to replace it with the new drug called dolutegravir, that combination has fewer side effects, its more effective, you see the effects of treatment much quicker, we are going to save 11 billion rand in South Africa over the next six years.”
Motsoaledi also highlighted the need to fight TB.
He says delegates from 114 countries met in the Russia last week to map a way forward to fight the illness.
Motsoaledi says the gathering was in preparation for the UN High Level gathering where Heads of States will meet in September next year to discuss TB.
Click the link below for the UNAIDS Right to health report: