World AIDS Day

1 Dec 2013

World AIDS Day

 

World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) Prevention, and is celebrated on 1 December each year. Governments and all sectors of society join hands on this day to raise awareness about the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS around carefully proposed themes. The day creates an opportunity to show solidarity for the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will lead the World AIDS Day commemoration in Mkhondo, Gert Sibande District, Mpumalanga, on 1 December under the theme: “Get wise. Get tested. Get circumcised.”

World AIDS Day poster

Government will use the day to apprise the nation on government efforts to fight the epidemic, to increase awareness, and to intensify efforts to scale up interventions to curtail the epidemic. This is aligned to the National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS 2012-2016.

This World AIDS Day will also be used to revitalise the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign and to launch the Medical Male Circumcision campaign.

Cabinet calls on all South Africans to practise safe sex; to get tested for HIV at least once per year in order to make informed decisions on preventative measures, treatment, care and support; and for men and boys to take up medical male circumcision services. South Africans must play their part and integrate the ABC (Abstinence, be faithful, use a condom) strategy as a way of life.

South Africa has subscribed to the global World AIDS Day targets of Getting to Zero by 2015 on

  • New HIV and TB Infections,
  • Stigma and Discrimination against People with HIV &AIDS
  • TB and Zero AIDS
  • TB Related Deaths.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the epicentre of the pandemic, and more so South Africa, since it is the country with the largest number of people living with HIV in the world and the largest country in the most affected region. Whilst we have come a long way since 1988, there is still much more to be done in order to turn the tides against HIV and AIDS.

The UNAIDS in consultation with member countries, organisations and partners has developed Getting to Zero Strategy (2011 – 2015) to ensure that universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is achieved. Ultimately, these initiatives will contribute towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Over the years, government and NGOs have initiated programmes in the fight against HIV and AIDS such as Komanani, Ground Breakers, and LoveLife to name but a few. The National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS, STIs and TB 2012 – 2016 is our nation’s response to the dual epidemics of HIV and TB.

All efforts on strengthening the plan for Zero new HIV and TB infections

  • South Africa has had a focused country plan since 2007 to mobilise and guide a national effort to reduce and control HIV and STIs; to mobilise buy-in and accountability within government and amongst all sectors of society.
  • The National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB 2012 - 2016 is South Africa’s response to HIV and TB. The key strategic objectives include:
    • Addressing social and structural barriers that increase vulnerability to HIV, STI and TB infection
    • Preventing new HIV, TB and STI infections
    • Sustaining health and wellness
  • Increasing the protection of human rights and improving access to justice.
  • The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) was restructured to ensure greater representation of sectors and inclusivity. The new SANAC governance structure includes civil society organisations, Provincial AIDS Councils, and government.

Prevention is better than cure - Make healthy and responsible life choices

  • There is no cure for HIV so the HIV pandemic remains one of humanity’s greatest challenges requiring a deliberate change in the way we live our lives.
  • Prevention in a form of safer sex and healthy lifestyle choices is a critical pillar of NSP.
  • Benefits of a Healthy lifestyle have been proven to prevent and delay the onset of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as well as management of other chronic health conditions. Healthy lifestyles entail the following practical actions.
    • Knowing your HIV status
    • Safer sex- consistent, correct condom use
    • Exercise (walk, run, dance, physical work) daily
    • Male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV acquisition by 60%. However, you should remember that it reduces the risk of a man from being infected with HIV but it does not reduce the risk of women from contracting HIV from an infected man.
    • Prevent mother-to-child transmission, visit clinics for family planning and antenatal programmes when pregnant
    • Take treatment consistently - Antiretroviral Treatment (ART)
    • Eat healthy balanced meals - low in sugar, fat and salt.
    • Sport in particular encourages active healthy development that protects and discourages youth from risky behaviour.

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