AIDS PROGRESS IN GAUTENG BUT DON’T BE COMPLACENT

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

I am pleased that figures released today at the Gauteng AIDS Summit show progress in combating this epidemic, but we should not be complacent.

While HIV infection in teenagers and youth (15-24 years) has reportedly been halved from 2007 to 2011, about 30% of pregnant women in Gauteng are HIV-positive, which is the same as it was ten years ago.

More than 500 000 people are on anti-retroviral treatment, which I believe is the major factor in reducing infections rather than behaviour change. This is because HIV-positive people on ARVs are less infectious.

The Democratic Alliance endorses the goal of reducing new HIV infections by at least 50% by 2016.

Treatment is expensive, so behavioural change is critical, and this starts by testing and knowing one’s status.

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