Aids fight a success story: Zuma

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iol scitech oct 29 aids test Associated Press A woman uses an oral test for HIV. File picture: Jacquelyn Martin

Pretoria - South Africa's fight against HIV and Aids has in a very short time become a success story, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

“We have about 2948 public health facilities now initiating patients on anti-retroviral treatment compared to 495 in January 2010,” he said in a statement.

“One of our greatest success stories is the remarkable 50 percent reduction in mother-to-child transmission of HIV from about 8 percent in 2008 to 3.5 percent in 2011.”

The country now had more than 1.7 million South Africans on anti-retroviral treatment, which had improved life expectancy dramatically, he said.

Zuma's remarks were made after United Nations Aids executive director Michel Sidibe visited him at his Mahlamba Ndlopfu residence in Pretoria.

Sidibe congratulated Zuma and South Africa on the strides the country was making in the global fight against HIV and Aids.

He asked that South Africa lead efforts in Africa, especially in manufacturing their own medicine and thus reducing dependency on countries outside the continent.

Zuma added how remarkable it was that more than 20 million people had been tested for HIV through the counselling and testing campaign he launched publicly in 2010.

“This indicates that the stigma around the disease is being eradicated, which will assist our continued prevention efforts; and the rate of new HIV infections looks set to decline over the coming years, as we deepen our existing programmes.” - Sapa


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