President Jacob Zuma has launched the new National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV and Aids 2012 – 2016, which promises to do much more to tackle TB and issues of violence against women.
The NSP proposes to deal with HIV, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis by adopting a holistic approach which includes preventative and therapeutic measures.
It brings together five succinct goals and four aims, whose combined purpose is to quash new HIV infections.
The five goals are:
- Reduce new HIV infections by at least 50% by using a combination of prevention approaches;
- Initiate at least 80% of eligible patients on antiretroviral treatment with 70% being alive and on treatment five years after initiation;
- Reduce the number of new TB infections as well as deaths from TB by 50%;
- Ensure an enabling and accessible legal framework that protects and promotes human rights in order to support the implementation of the NSP, and
- Reduce self-reported stigma related to HIV and TB by at least 50%.
The NSP is further strengthened by its four goals, which are:
- Address social and structural barriers to HIV, STI and TB prevention, care and impact;
- Prevent new HIV, STI and TB infections;
- Sustain health and wellness, and
- Increase the protection of human rights and improve access to justice.
Launching the plan at the Wolfson Stadium in KwaZakhele, Zuma said the country had also adopted the ‘three zeros’ agreed to at the United Nations high level meeting in New York this June as a vision for the next 20 years.
“In addition, we added as a country, a fourth zero, which aims to eliminate HIV transmission from mother to child.
“The four zeros are ‘zero new HIV and TB infection; zero new infections due to mother to child transmission; zero preventable deaths associated with HIV and TB, and zero discrimination associated with HIV and TB,” Zuma explained.
The President was pleased that the issue of violence against women was reflected in the new NSP.
Recent research in South Africa showed that the country could prevent HIV infections in young women if they were not subjected to violence or intimidation by their partners.
“Government is prioritising the fight against the abuse of women and children through law enforcement as well as education and awareness.
“We must also enhance our socio-economic interventions to deal with poverty, unemployment, food insecurity and inequality… these either contribute to the spread of HIV or worsen impact of the epidemic,” said Zuma.
The new plan will be implemented next year in April.
Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet said for the strategy to work, everybody needed to get on board.
“Let’s ensure that these initiatives included in the NSP don’t go to waste but take us forward… We hope that the information shared today will make a difference to the youth and assist us to achieve the triple zeros accordingly,” said Kiviet.
Welcoming the launch of the new plan, Prudence Mabela, who has been living with HIV for 22 years, said everyone had to walk the talk when it came to implementing the plan.
She urged other infected people to take treatment and those who have not tested to go find out their status.
“You can trust the public hospitals, I’m using them and they are helping… With the treatment you can live longer. I’ve taken TB treatment for six months and it’s effective, including the ARVs,” said Mabela.