The United States, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is investing $1.2bn or more than R16bn over two years. AP

JOHANNESBURG - The United States, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), is investing $1.2 billion  or more than R16 billion over two years to support South Africa’s efforts to control the HIV epidemic by 2020.

Data from the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) shows South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic in the world at 19 percent of the total population.

The U.S. funding commitment, announced during the Global Citizen concert to honour Nelson Mandela on Sunday, will support the rapid acceleration of HIV treatment.

"Controlling the HIV epidemic is not only possible, it is happening – country by country, community by community - across Africa," U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator & Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, Ambassador Deborah Birx said.

The United States will continue to work closely with South Africa's government, as well as civil society, faith-based, community, and private sector organisations to accelerate optimised HIV testing, treatment, and retention strategies.

Since 2004, Americans have invested more than R70 billion in South Africa through PEPFAR, which supports more than 100 South African organisations to provide needed HIV and TB prevention and treatment services.

- African News Agency (ANA)