MEDIA RELEASE – National AIDS Council welcomes new findings that the world has exceeded the AIDS targets of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6

“It is a truly remarkable achievement that our joint efforts have led to the achievement of treatment target of 15 million people and South Africa is proud to be contributing more than 20% of the global achievement. We now have 3.1 million people on treatment in this country and the Minister of Health together with the national and provincial departments of health working with the national and provincial aids councils, NGOs and donors can all be proud of this achievement,” said Dr Fareed Abdullah, CEO of SANAC.

“South Africa can also be proud of the progress we have made in the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child where we now record a 90 percent decrease in transmission from the era where treatment was not available. The rate of transmission at 6 weeks now stands at 2.6% with provinces such as the Western Cape and Kwazulu Natal having achieved rates of less than 2%.”

Unfortunately, South Africa has lagged behind when it comes to reducing new infections of HIV especially in young women. According to the UNAIDS statistics, South Africa had 340 000 new infections in the last year. The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) estimates that in 2012, there were more than 469 000 new infections in South Africa, of which one quarter were in women aged 15 to 24.

In keeping with the Lancet Commission , in which our Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi was a commissioner, South Africa needs to turn its attention to the prevention of new infections of HIV whilst continuing with its very successful treatment programme. This requires a multisectoral response across all government departments, NGOs and the private sector. This will need a major additional injection of funds both from domestic and donor resources.

The South African National AIDS Council contributed data for the UNAIDS report and welcomes the publication of this report and the major achievements it describes. It urges all stakeholders to support the call from UNAIDS for increasing investments in the next five years with the aim of accelerating further prevention and treatment efforts so that we can achieve epidemic control by 2030.

For more information, please contact Kanya Ndaki, SANAC Communications Manager: 083 298 6100

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