1 December 2011

South Africa: Country Marks World Aids Day

Port Elizabeth — A number of activities have been lined up around South Africa to mark World Aids Day, with President Jacob Zuma expected to unveil the country's new National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV and Aids 2012 - 2016.

Joined by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet, Members of Parliament and traditional health practitioners, Zuma will unveil the new NSP during an event in KwaZakhele in the Eastern Cape.

The NSP seeks to achieve broad goals including reducing new HIV infections by at least 50 percent by using a combination of prevention approaches; reducing the number of new TB infections as well as deaths from TB by 50 percent.

Ahead of the official event, Motlanthe who is the chairperson of the South African National Aids Council accompanied by Motsoaledi and Kiviet, will this morning embark on a door-to-door visit to child and elderly persons-headed households in KwaZakhele in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The 2011 World Aids Day will be observed under the theme 'Getting to Zero', which echoes the UNAIDS' vision of achieving 'Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero Aids-related deaths'.

The theme seeks to encourage individuals and communities to have non-discriminatory and non-judgmental access to adequate HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and TB prevention, treatment, care and support.

In South Africa, the event will be marked under the sub-theme 'South Africa is taking responsibility on a path to eliminating the TB and HIV epidemics'.

The emphasis will be on providing universal access to HIV, STI and TB prevention, treatment, care and support.

This is complementary to the global theme as South Africa will continuously strive to achieve zero HIV infections.

In Gauteng, Health and Social Development MEC Ntombi Mekgwe will lead an awareness and educational campaign at Johannesburg's Park Station, where the people of Gauteng will be taught about preventative measures as well as services available for those infected and affected by the virus.

A team of 300 health workers will also be educating the community at the station about HIV and Aids.

In Durban, eThekwini Municipality Mayor James Nxumalo will commemorate the day at uMnini sports ground in uMgababa, where he is expected to highlight the municipality's programme to stop the spread of HIV as well as its plan of working towards an HIV free generation.

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