Anroux Marais, MPP
DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Development
Madam Speaker, yesterday, 1 December, marked World Aids Day 2014. The global theme for the World Aids Day campaign is “Getting to Zero”, echoing the UN AIDS vision of achieving “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths”.
Madam Speaker, getting to zero may seem to be a very ambitious goal, but if we succeed in redressing our behaviours, in terms of leading healthy lifestyles, we may achieve this goal sooner than anticipated. If we all take personal responsibility for our own wellbeing, we can decrease the burden of the HIV/AIDS disease, not only in the Western Cape, but South Africa as a whole.
Although there is room for improvements, the DA takes this opportunity to commend the Western Cape Department of Health in their efforts to provide a space and assistance in creating wellness in the province. In terms of working towards the goals of zero AIDS-related deaths, the department has certainly made major strides in attaining this goal.
Madam Speaker, the HIV prevalence among the reproductive age population, which is 15-49 years, in the Western Cape has increased from 5.3% in 2008 to 7.8% in 2012. This, Madam Speaker, means that people living with HIV/AIDS in the Western Cape are living longer with the disease and this is attributed to the successful progress the department has made with providing improved access to antiretroviral treatments and therapy.
Madam Speaker, this is a feat in our fight against HIV/AIDS. The DA congratulates the Western Cape Department of Health in this significant achievement but we also encourage improved awareness and creation of wellness in the province so that we can get to zero!
I thank you.