Secunda - Progress reports from a number of provinces received by the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) indicate that the response to HIV/Aids needs to "move into a higher and more focused gear", Deputy President David Mabuza said on Saturday.
Addressing the Sanac extended plenary session in Secunda in Mpumalanga, Mabuza, who is also Sanac chairman, said that earlier this year, the health department reported that just over 838 000 people tested positive for HIV for the period from January to December 2018. The highest incidence rates were recorded in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape.
Mpumalanga had 76 007 new HIV-positive cases. "As we have said before, one HIV infection is one too many. Working with our partners in civil society and in the business community, it is possible to reverse the HIV pandemic that has affected approximately 7.4 million people who are HIV-positive.
"We need to continue putting in practical and decisive measures to reduce this level of incidence, as we know how disproportionately it affects young women," he said.
There was a close relationship between the development of society and the empowerment of women and girls. The reverse was also true that women disempowerment in any form or manner, such as gender-based violence, disadvantaged societal development.