World Aids Day: SA must work harder to eradicate the disease – Phaahla

JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister, Joe Phaahla said this year’s World Aids Day is a wake-up call for the country to work harder to eradicate the disease.

Phaahla addressed the official World Aids Day commemoration which took place at the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

According to the Stats SA Mid-year population estimates report, there are approximately 8.5 million adults and children living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

Phaahla said the day is also an opportunity to take stock of the progress we have made as a country.

South Africa is a signatory to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS which is committed to eliminating the disease as a public health threat by 2030.

“Our theme for today which is very appropriate, is equalise and integrate to end Aids, because we’re reflecting that the world is still very unequal and as a country, we are still also very unequal. This theme is a wakeup call for us to work harder as a country in order to eradicate Aids as a threat to our lives.”

The deputy chairperson of the South African National Aids Council’s (Sanac’s) private sector forum – Tshegofatso Gopane, highlighted that HIV prevalence among people aged between 15 and 49 years is 19,6 percent.

“This is devastating not only with respect to the sheer numbers of young people affected but it also has an impact on the economy. As this is the age bend that represents a substantial portion of our working population… It is vital that the private sector plays its part against the fight for HIV/Aids.”

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