1 December 2011

South Africa: End Stigma Around Aids

Pretoria — As the world commemorates World Aids Day, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) wants to see an end to stigmatisation and stereotyping around the disease.

"The commission urges all South Africans to talk openly about the dangers of the diseases and how to encourage sexually active boys and girls to abstain until they are ready to engage in sexual acts," spokesperson Javu Baloyi said.

This year is the 23rd anniversary of World Aids Day.

South Africa will commemorate the day in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape under the theme 'South Africa is taking responsibility on a path to eliminating the TB and HIV epidemics'.

At the event, President Jacob Zuma is expected to launch the National Strategic Plan for HIV and Aids 2012-16 (NSP).

The NSP is a strategic guide for HIV, STI and TB initiatives for the next five years. The decision to include TB was primarily due to the high co-infection rate between HIV and TB.

The NSP is reviewed periodically because it is intended to respond to the changes in the twin epidemics for relevance, effectiveness and the necessary adjustments are made accordingly.

The commission, which was established in terms of Section 187 of the Constitution, said it was the responsibility of citizens to live a responsible life in order to reduce the scourge of HIV.

It noted the decline in Aids prevalence numbers in the country, adding that it was pleased with government initiatives to combat the disease.

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