World AIDS Day: SA making progress to meet UN targets

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The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) says it will push the government to initiate the outstanding three million HIV positive people on treatment. Currently, more than 4.5 million of the close to eight million HIV positive people are on treatment.

The TAC has commended government for its efforts to provide lifesaving drugs to patients. This comes as South Africa will be joining other countries in commemorating World AIDS Day on Sunday.

The Treatment Action Campaign’s Anele Yawa says their work has not yet been done.

“Out of the 7 million plus people living with HIV, more than 4.5 million are on treatment and one of the things that we are pushing for is the fact that the other remaining three million must be initiated on treatment, but also there are still challenges within our healthcare system as a country.”

The South African National AIDS Council (Sanac) says it is pleased that some districts in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have met and gone beyond the United Nations targets of tackling HIV/AIDS.

UNAIDS set ambitious targets aimed at ensuring that 90% of the population has been tested for HIV, 90% of HIV positive people are on treatment and 90% of those who are on treatment have an undetected viral load.

The town of Eshowe in the King Cetshwayo District in KZN was the first one to meet these targets earlier in 2019.

Chief Executive Officer of Sanac, Dr Sandile Buthelezi, says other districts have followed.

“What we are happy about is that there are some pockets of excellence in the country where we’ve been able to reach these targets. For example, we’ve got three districts, which are all in KZN, which have reached these targets. It’s Ugu District which is your Port Shepstone area, Umkhanyakude District, which is your Jozini Umkhuze area, and then it is Umzinyathi which is your Dundee and Umsinga area. There are a number of other districts which we think we are going to be able to push by learning from these districts by the end of March next year.”

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Health Department says it has made progress in addressing HIV and AIDS in the past two decades. Out of the province’s nearly six million people, 1.7 million people were tested for HIV in the 2018/2019 financial year.

“By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status. 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression,” says Ministerial spokesperson, Nomawethu Sbukwana .

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