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Global Fund grants SA $300mn in AIDS battle
October 9, 2013, 11:16 am

[Getty Images]

President Zuma has attempted to initiate a healthy public discourse on HIV and AIDS [Getty Images]

The Global Fund on Tuesday granted South Africa three billion rand (about $300 million) to advance its fight against HIV and AIDS.

The support was unveiled at the second Plenary Meeting of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) in Rustenburg near Johannesburg.

“It’s the largest grant that we have ever received from the multi-sectoral donor in the history of our fight against Aids and TB [tuberculosis],” said South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the meeting.

Motlanthe said the funding would allow the country to expand treatment programmes for AIDS and TB.

It would also boost the government’s efforts to prevent new infections of HIV and TB, added the deputy president.

The Global Fund is an international financing institution which fights AIDS, TB and malaria.

It provides about 65 per cent of all international financing to combat TB and malaria. It also provides 21 per cent of the money used against AIDS.

South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said 52 per cent of the grant is going to the national Department of Health, while the rest will go to other recipients like the NGOs Right to Care, National Religious Association for Social Development, and the National Aids Convention of South Africa.

Participants at the meeting commended the progress South Africa has made in achieving the global target, as set by the United Nations, of reducing HIV and AIDS by 50 per cent by 2015.

President Jacob Zuma had launched a plan to increase life expectancy of South Africans by continuing to roll out anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) to people afflicted with HIV and AIDS.

According to government figures, two million HIV patients in South Africa have been put on ARV treatment, making it the largest treatment programme in the world.

UN officials have called it the largest and fastest increase in AIDS services ever attempted.

President Zuma since 2010 has also attempted to initiate a healthy public discourse on HIV and AIDS to spread awareness as well as defeat the stigma associated with the disease.

South Africa is on track to achieve the target of reduction and eliminating HIV transmission from mother to child by 2015.

The transmission rate now stands at 2.7 per cent, down from eight per cent in 2008.

Of the 22.9 million HIV positive people in sub-Saharan Africa, 5.6 million are in South Africa, or more than 10 per cent of the entire population, according to a recent UNAIDS report.

Source: Agencies