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GOVERNMENT'S HIV AND AIDS PLAN UP AND RUNNING

HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS PLAN IS UP AND RUNNING

South Africa's Aids plan has grown to be one of the broadest and largest in the world according to the World Health Organisation. But there is still much more to do.

Broad plan
In 2001, government started its comprehensive plan to deal with HIV and Aids.

The comprehensive plan covers many different areas related to HIV and Aids. Through this plan a lot has been done to manage the disease and to treat and care for people living with HIV and Aids. To make the plan more effective Cabinet recently re-started the Inter-Ministerial Committee on HIV and Aids. The Committee, headed by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, had its first meeting on 14 September.

It meets every month to ensure co-ordination in government's implementation of the programme and to give support to the South African National Aids Council (SANAC). SANAC's task is to unite every section of society in a national partnership to fight HIV and Aids. The HIV and Aids plan is also helping to strengthen the national health system.

South Africa has set aside billions of rands in its budget to give antiretroviral treatment.

Service point stations
Government’s expenditure on HIV and Aids has increased from R30 million in 1994 to over R3 billion in 2005/6.

South Africa now has the largest antiretroviral treatment programme in the world and it is continuing to grow to reach more people in need.

As part of the HIV and Aids plan, there is at least one service point for HIV and Aids patients at 53 health districts in the country.

The service points assist with giving condoms and nutritional supplements, antiretroviral treatment and voluntary counselling and testing.

Prevention
South Africa's HIV and Aids plan focuses on preventing the disease so that people who are not infected stay HIV negative. 

For our nation to succeed in preventing infection, everyone needs to be aware of the dangers of unsafe sex. Messages telling people how to avoid being infected or to avoid infecting others are helping to change behaviour.

Preventing infection passing from a mother to her child is also an important part of the programme. So is treatment of women who have been raped, to try to make sure they don't get infected.

Partners
Partners like LoveLife joined the government in the fight against sexually transmitted diseases.

Messages were sent out about things like prevention, support for orphans and how to live positively. The communication campaign helps to spread the ABC message - Abstinence, Be faithful and Condomise.

This has helped to change many people’s sexual behaviour.

Health care workers
Government is also improving working conditions in health care so that more professionals are added to the health system. 

The improvements include extra money for people with scarce skills like doctors, pharmacists and specialist nurses. 

Health professionals working in rural areas and in less developed parts of the country will also get extra money.

- Ndivhuwo Khangale

South Africa's HIV and Aids Plan focuses on preventing the disease so that people who are not infected stay HIV negative. It also gives treatment, care and support.

HIV and Aids is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. There is still no cure for HIV and Aids, but with a proper plan and cooperation between government, non-government organisations and big business, the disease can be managed.
Did you know?

Health centres giving voluntary counselling and testing have increased from 3 369 in 2004/5 to 4 930 in 2005/6.

By the end of June 2006, over 178 635 patients had started antiretroviral treatment in the public sector.

In 2005/6, the number of condoms given out by government increased to 386 million condoms for men and 1,3 million for women.

More than 1 060 professional people in health care, like doctors, nurses and pharmacists have been appointed in health services. About 7 600 have been appointed in management and to care for, and treat, HIV and Aids patients.

For more information, call the AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322