Durban — KwaZulu-Natal MEC of Social Development Nonhlanhla Khoza has urged communities to sustain the fight against HIV and Aids epidemic during a gathering to commemorate the International Aids Candlelight Memorial at Alfred Duma Local municipality on Saturday.
The annual memorial service serves as a poignant reminder of the far-reaching impact of the disease on individuals, families and communities across the globe.
“Through collaborative efforts with the sector and the Department of Health operation Siyabalanda, we aim to prevent any person from defaulting on treatment, we have been able to trace those who have disappeared and ensure their continued access to medication,” she said.
Khoza said some individuals have to travel long distances to collect their chronic medication. The department hopes to eliminate this burden and ensure that everyone can access their medication conveniently.
Khoza said that it is important for people to not become complacent despite significant advancements in prevention, treatment and care. HIV and Aids remain a global health crisis that demands unwavering attention and action.
“We are deeply concerned that young girls between the ages of 15 and 25 in our communities are contracting HIV. It is crucial for us to stand together and reaffirm our commitment to achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets,” said Khoza.
She said by 2030 the government aims to ensure that 90% of people living with HIV will know their status and 90% of those diagnosed will have access to sustained medication and 90% will achieve viral suppression.
Chairperson of the Provincial Civic Society Siyabonga Nzimande made a plea to the government not to develop any policies that talk about people living with HIV without involving them.
“We must acknowledge that the HIV/Aids epidemic continues to pose significant challenges globally and South Africa is no exception.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that those living with HIV/Aids receive the care, support and treatment they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives. We must also redouble our efforts in raising awareness, promoting prevention and combating the stigma and discrimination associated with this disease,” said Nzimande.
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