Pretoria — South Africa has increased its scale of HIV treatment by 75%, ensuring that 1.7 million people have access to the lifesaving treatment and leading to a decrease of more than 50 000 or 41% in new HIV infections in the past two years.
This is according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)'s 2012 World AIDS Day report, released on Tuesday.
The report notes an increase in South Africa' sustained investments on HIV treatment, such as antiretroviral therapy, which have led to many lives being saved in the past six years.
According to the report, "South Africa is the country that has made the highest domestic investment in AIDS among all low- and middle-income countries. It alone invested US$ 1.9 billion last year from public sources, resulting in a five-fold increase between 2006 and 2011. This strategic leadership is an example being echoed across the region".
Acting Cabinet Spokesperson Phumla Williams said government was humbled by the report.
"South Africa is committed to the fight against new HIV infections, and will continue to invest in the sustainable HIV treatment," she said in a statement.
Williams encouraged all citizens, particularly the youth, to visit local health facilities for Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT).
"We believe that if many of us get tested, even though we may not be sick, this will help to reduce the amount of stigma associated with the HIV test and is a step towards the achievement of an HIV-free generation."
She further commended the work of non-governmental organisations, religious and traditional institutions in raising awareness about the HIV and AIDS.