UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé met with the Deputy President of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe and the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on 18 January. The meeting began with a review of the progress made in the HIV response in South Africa in recent years. The Deputy President attributed much of the success of the country to the Health ministry and in particular, the Minister of Health. Dr Aaron Motsoaledi spoke about the country’s achievements, especially in reaching 70% of people, who need HIV treatment with life-saving antiretrovirals.
Mr Sidibé welcomed the advances the country has made but added that stigma and discrimination are still barriers to accessing treatment and that the silence surrounding people living with HIV needs to be broken.
I thank UNAIDS for giving us the signposts to follow. The response to HIV has benefitted from UNAIDS. Without the people around me the work wouldn’t have been easy.
-- Deputy President of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe
In April 2010, the President of South Africa launched the massive HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign. At that time we only had 923 000 people on treatment. Now we have 1.9 million people on treatment, largely thanks to the campaign. Our target for 2015 is 2.5 million people and I believe we are on course to reach that target.
-- Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
We need to break the conspiracy of silence around HIV. Change will not happen if communities do not buy into it
-- UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé