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South African Press Association

Concerted Effort Needed to Combat Spread of HIV/Aids: Zuma


The fight against the spread of HIV and Aids was one that needed a concerted effort from all sectors of society, Deputy President Jacob Zuma said in Parow near Cape Town on Saturday.

Speaking at a Men's Imbizo aimed at highlighting the commitment by men to the struggle against the spread of the disease, he said the Partnership Against Aids, launched in October 1998, was being strengthened by bringing men as partners into the national campaign.

"We are particularly pleased to be here today, to witness the strengthening of the Men's Partnership Against Aids," Zuma said.

He said this was significant in view of the role men played in society, the positive role that men could and should play in combating the spread of the disease, and in supporting their loved ones and friends.

"When we fought against the system of apartheid, we did that as a united force, and as a result we managed to bring apartheid down."

Zuma said the theme of the Men's Imbizo 'South African Men Care Enough To Act' should not only be a theme or a slogan, but should be translated into action that would lead to significant results in the fight against the abuse of women and children, and against the spread of HIV and Aids.

"One critical challenge that we face is to ensure that our deliberations are communicated to all South Africans in general, and men in particular, so that they can provide a model for the kind of man a South African man should be."

Zuma said there were a number of compelling reasons why South African men should be more involved in the fight against the pandemic.

A number of special circumstances placed men at a higher risk of contracting HIV, such as men who worked far away from home and did not live with their families, and men in environments that were exclusively male, such as prisons.

"We are also aware of the unequal power relations between men and women in the home, despite our exemplary Constitution, which enshrines equality for men and women," Zuma said.

"Many women are economically and socially dependent on men, and this makes them vulnerable and unable to negotiate safe behaviour."

This placed a heavy responsibility on all men to act responsibly, and use the power they had to protect rather than endanger the lives of their loved ones.

Zuma said the government was encouraged that commitments made at the Men's Imbizo would take the Partnership Against Aids further.

"It is our belief that HIV and Aids, and the abuse of women and children are challenges that can only be addressed if we all act together as a united force," he said.


South African Press Association (Johannesburg) provides news to news organizations around the world. 

Information in this article was accurate in October 5, 2002. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.