South Africans commemorate World AIDS Day

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pretoria - For millions of South Africans infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, this year's World AIDS Day will signify a wave of change.

President Jacob Zuma is expected to address South Africans from all walks of life at an event to be held at the Pretoria Show Grounds to commemorate World AIDS Day today.

Under the theme "I am responsible, We are responsible, South Africa is taking responsibility", this year's World AIDS Day heralds a new era in the country's collective effort in the response to HIV and AIDS.

The theme encourages everyone in South Africa from individuals, communities, businesses and government to take personal and collective responsibility to stop new HIV infections, provide care and support to those living with HIV and to ensure access to treatment for all people in need.

The day's activities are intended to bring the country together to revitalise the fight against AIDS and take the campaign to higher levels.

The commemoration will also underline the extensive work done by government since 1994 to deal with the scourge of HIV and AIDS.

It moves from the premise that while a lot has been done, much more still needs to be done by all South Africans working together in unity.

President Zuma wants to see an enhancement of prevention, treatment, the end of stigma as well as improved care and support for those living with the virus, and their families.

The 2009 World AIDS Day encourages people to get tested for HIV, either alone, with their partners, friends or family and wear a red ribbon to show personal commitment to stopping new HIV infections and to providing care and support for people living with the virus.

The day also encourages people to talk to their partners, friends, family and colleagues at work about how they can prevent becoming infected with HIV and also encourage pregnant women to test early in their pregnancy for HIV so that they can prevent their babies from getting infected with the virus.

The event will also be attended by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe who chairs the South African National AIDS Council and other members of the council as well as Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and international agencies.