Govt encouraged by drop in new HIV infections in KZN

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pretoria - Government says it is encouraged by the findings of a study that shows a drop in new HIV infections in KwaZulu-Natal.

The study was conducted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, focusing on the provision of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to the population of KZN.

It found that the adult life expectancy of the general population in KZN has increased from 49 years to 60 years, and new HIV infections have dropped as a result of the widespread availability of ARVs freely provided by government.

Acting Government Communication and Information System spokesperson, Phumla Williams, commended the work done by UKZN. She urged other universities and research institutions to embark on such studies.

“The University of KwaZulu-Natal has done a great job in conducting such a study… we are humbled and encouraged by the findings.  Government is committed to the fight against new HVI infections and will continue to invest in sustainable HIV treatment,” Williams said on Friday.

She also encouraged all citizens, particularly the youth, to visit their local health facilities for voluntary counselling and testing.

“We believe that if many of us get tested… this will help to lessen the stigma associated with the HIV test. [It] is a step towards the achievement of an HIV-free generation,” said Williams.

She further commended the work of non-governmental organisations, religious and traditional institutions in raising awareness about HIV and Aids.

South Africa is committed to “Zero New HIV infections”, “Zero Discrimination” and “Zero Aids-related deaths” through continuous investment in scientific research, provision of necessary treatment and raising awareness about HIV and Aids. –