18 July 2010

South Africa: Motlanthe to Address Internatiional Aids Conference

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is expected to officially open the South African Exhibition that will include the celebration of the Nelson Mandela Day during the International AIDS Conference held in Vienna, Austria.

Motlanthe, who will deliver an opening address today, arrived in Austria on Saturday, where he is leading a government delegation to represent South Africa at the six-day conference to start on 18 to 23 July 2010 under the theme: "Rights here, Right Now".

Together with former United States President Bill Clinton, Motlanthe is expected to take part in a panel discussion with the theme 'Towards Paradigm shift in HIV prevention and treatment'.

South Africa's participation at the conference comes amid an unprecedented massive HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) campaign launched by President Jacob Zuma in April this year.

The campaign seeks to test about 15 million people for HIV by June next year while also promoting positive sex behaviour.

During last year's World AIDS Day, President Zuma announced far-reaching policy interventions around treatment initiating patients on ARVs.

The conference will provide South Africa a platform to demonstrate the importance of sustained investments in HIV in achieving broader national and international health and development goals.

South Africa will also provide a progress report against the indicators identified in the Declaration of Commitment signed by the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS in June 2001.

Key among these commitments was the realisation of universal access to HIV prevention and treatment interventions by 2010.

Motlanthe, who is accompanied by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Public Works Deputy Minister Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu, will later pay a courtesy call on Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

Dr Motsoaledi will deliver an address during the plenary session of day three of the conference focusing on the theme of Universal Access and Treatment Scale-up.

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