US to commit R900mil for ARVs in South Africa

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pretoria - As South Africa joins the world in observing World AIDS Day, the United States (US) will commit R900 million over two years for anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.

US Ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips will make the official announcement later today at the national commemoration event to be held at the Pretoria Showgrounds.

This extra funding will procure the life saving ARVs to help ensure that there are adequate stocks on hand to meet the growing demand for ARVs in South Africa.

"This funding provides a bridge to help individual South Africans gain access to ARVs. We are pleased and honoured to respond to President Zuma as South Africa's partner in this fight," said Gips.

According to the US Embassy, this funding is over and above the R4.2 billion budgeted for the regular US government contribution to the fight against HIV and AIDS in South Africa for the 2010 fiscal year.

This will assist the national Department of Health and provincial departments in meeting their goals in providing ARV treatment and to help build capacity in the provinces for planning and forecasting ARV needs and is in direct response to a request from President Jacob Zuma.

"The United States has a remarkable relationship with South Africa in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and South Africa has made significant and real strides in testing and counseling citizens about receiving treatment," said Gips.

Through the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the US has made the largest commitment in history by a single nation to combat the disease.

The American people have provided more than $25 billion globally to the fight against AIDS. In South Africa, PEPFAR support from 2004-2009 has totalled over R10 billion.

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