A screengrab of President Jacob Zuma delivering his 2014 State of the Nation Address.

Parliament, Cape Town - A turnaround in South Africa's HIV and Aids policies was a great achievement by the country's government, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

"The HIV and Aids turnaround is one of the biggest achievements of this administration and we are used as a model country by the United Nations Aids programmes," Zuma said during his State of the Nation Address.

Mother-to-child transmission of HIV had declined sharply. The number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment had doubled from one million to 2.4 million people in 2013.

"More than 20 million South Africans have taken the HIV test since the launch of the campaign in 2011, which indicates confidence in the health system."

Life expectancy was increasing, but the next administration would seek to ensure that at least 4.6 million people were on the antiretroviral programme.

"While celebrating our success, we must not be complacent. The prevention work must still continue so that we can reach that goal of zero HIV infections sooner."

The implementation of the National Health Insurance would extend better quality health care to the poor, Zuma said. - Sapa