South Africa marks World Aids Day

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Gabi Khumalo

Driefontein - Red ribbons and t-shirts carrying HIV and Aids messages are expected to be seen on every corner of Driefontein in Mpumalanga today where Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi will commemorate World Aids Day.

The Deputy President, who is also Chairperson of the South African National Aids Council (Sanac), will visit families as well as address community members and health care workers.

He will be accompanied by Motsoaledi, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and representatives of International organisations which include the World Health Organisation and the joint UN Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAIDS).

The theme of the event is "We are Responsible". This year's World Aids Day theme is informed by the need to work collectively in addressing South Africa's response to the HIV and Aids pandemic.

The build-up activities for World Aids Day commenced in November with a series of community dialogues with all social partners. These social dialogues will culminate in various Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, premiers and MECs being deployed to various communities across the country today to discuss how to reduce new HIV infections.

North West Premier Thandi Modise, together with newly appointed MEC for Health Dr Magome Masike, will lead community dialogues in Boitekong, a mining community near Rustenburg.

Provincial activities are also expected to take place in KwaZulu-Natal, where MECs including mayors and councilors will be hosting the event in select ward-based venues in each of the 10 districts and one metro of the province.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize will be in the rural community of KwaNongoma to heighten HIV and Aids awareness, while the MEC for Finance, Ina Cronje, will visit the previously violence-torn town in Richmond, which is one of the areas in the Mgungundlovu District with a high infection rate. Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo will be leading a march at New Castle.

Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC Ntombi Mekgwe will join hundreds of people in commemorating the day at the Saul Tsotetsi Hall in Sebokeng, where the community will have an opportunity to test for chronic illnesses.

World Aids Day is observed around the world on 1 December.

This year will see the World Aids Day campaign continuing until next year June as Government aims to reach a target of testing 15 million people for HIV and AIDS, through the HIV, Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign launched by President Jacob Zuma in April.

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