Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela's stance on HIV and Aids saved millions of lives, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS) said on Friday.
“”His actions helped save millions of lives and transformed health in Africa,” UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe said in a statement.
“He broke the conspiracy of silence and gave hope that all people should live with dignity.”
Just before midnight on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said Mandela, 95, had died at his Houghton residence.
Sidibe said Mandela was a central figure in the Aids movement and was instrumental in laying the foundations of the modern Aids response.
The international peace icon devoted much time to advocating access to HIV treatment and dissolving the stigma around the virus.
In 2005, Mandela revealed publicly that his son Makgatho Mandela had died of Aids.
“Nelson Mandela's vision and his steadfast commitment to social justice and personal bravery have inspired not only me but millions of people around the world to stand up and speak out for what they believe is right,” Sidibe said. - Sapa