Motsoaledi inspects readiness for AIDS policy

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Durban - Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi is in Durban to assess the health sector's readiness to implement government's new AIDS treatment policy.

As part of his national tour, the health minister is meeting with various sectors of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), hospital CEOs and clinical managers.

He has been receiving reports on progress made around preparing the public health sector for the implementation of the new AIDS treatment programme announced by President Jacob Zuma on World Aids Day in 2009.

Motsoaledi has been meeting with key players, including people infected with HIV and AIDS, to iron out all issues and concerns pertaining to the new programme.

Talks also include preparations for the massive voluntary counselling and testing campaign due to start next month. The campaign has set a target of testing 15 million people for HIV by April 2011.

Motsoaledi said the President and Cabinet have agreed to be tested in public but the results will be confidential as with any other South African citizen.

The minister has engaged personalities within the labour, business, sport, entertainment and religious sectors to help with the campaign.

He has urged business to buy testing kits and condoms and has urged other prominent South Africans to take the tests.

There will be no costs to hospitals because there will be no need to purchase additional equipment. Also no refurbishments are expected to be done on hospitals to accommodate HIV testing.

"This is a very special campaign driven by government and SANAC. We have been fundraising. So no money will be taken from the normal health budget," the minister explained.

He said during his recent state visit to the UK, government managed to secure one million pounds for purchasing condoms.

More details about the programme are expected to be divulged next week after the minister concludes his nationwide tour.