8 April 2010

South Africa: Zuma Takes HIV Test

Pretoria — President Jacob Zuma has taken an HIV test in an effort to encourage South Africans to do the same.

The president took the test on Thursday.

"I am doing so to encourage as many South Africans as possible to do the same, as part of the build up to the public launch," he said.

As part of government's new approach to fighting the epidemic, a massive testing campaign had been set for April 15.

"However we have to postpone the campaign as I will be out of the country, on a working visit to the United States and Brazil. A new date will be announced soon," said Zuma.

He said HIV tests are voluntary and confidential and while getting tested might be a difficult decision to make for many people, it's a decision that must be taken by people from all walks of life, races and social classes.

"Everybody's privacy and dignity must be respected by health professionals and the public in general. We must also respect the HIV status of all South Africans, whether positive or negative, and support each other to deal with this epidemic," he reiterated.

Zuma said that if a person tests positive this is not a death sentence.

"We need to work together to fight the stigma attached to the epidemic. We must also address the problem of discrimination through lifting the silence and shame that is associated with the virus and the disease. We must all play our role to fight the epidemic," Zuma added.-BuaNews

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