PRETORIA, South Africa has joined the rest of the world in marking this year’s World Aids Day, with an emphasis on the need take personal and collective responsibility to prevent new HIV infections.
World Aids Day takes place on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from Aids-related illness.
Founded in 1988, World Aids Day was the first ever global health day.
South Africa’s theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘It is my right to know my status. Prevention is my responsibility’.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the chairperson of the South African National Aids Council (SANAC), will address the national commemoration event at Walter Sisulu University Stadium in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.
As part of the activities, Ramaphosa will first engage in a dialogue session with traditional leaders at The Great Place in Bumbane in Mthatha.
Several other activities are planned throughout the country by various government departments and organisations.
The Presidency said the day is an opportunity for everyone to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support to those infected and affected and to remember those who passed on from diseases associated with HIV.
According to SANAC, South Africa hopes to reduce new HIV infections by more than 60% from an estimated 270 000 in 2016 to below 100 000 by 2022.
The country also aims to reduce TB incidence by at least 30% from 450 000 to 315 000.
South Africa has a National Strategic Plan (NSP) – a roadmap for united action to take the country’s HIV, TB and Sexually Transmitted diseases response to a new level and overcoming these major public health challenges.
One of the success stories that the country has achieved in recent years was to place an increasing number of HIV infected citizens on treatment.
SANAC said about 3.7 million citizens are on ARV treatment, which also helps to reduce the death rate, but it acknowledges that work is not so well done in protecting people from HIV infections.
Government continues to encourage citizens to do away with stigmatisation and discrimination against people with HIV and TB, calling on all to protect their human rights.
Citizens are also encouraged to check their HIV status regularly so that they can stay negative or receive care to remain healthy. They are also urged to get screened for TB if they have a cough that is not going away, to act against gender-based violence and alcohol abuse and to protect young women and girls against HIV infections and teenage pregnancies.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK