Deputy President David Mabuza has emphasised the need to improve access to healthcare and health infrastructure to administer the impact of HIV/Aids and Covid-19.
On Monday evening Mabuza, in his capacity as the chairperson of the South African National Aids Council (Sanac), delivered the official opening address at the 21st International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (Icasa). Under the theme “Africa’s Aids Response: The Race to 2030 – Evidence. Scale Up. Accelerate”, the conference also seeks to integrate high-impact interventions on comorbidities, emerging infections and non-communicable diseases, among others.
The conference is taking place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban from Monday to Friday.
Mabuza said the response in reaching the new Global Aids Strategy targets, which is the UNAIDS 95-95-95, will not be possible if human rights are not a key priority in ensuring non-discrimination and ending inequalities.
Gains in treatment effectiveness, as well as increases in the number of people who know their status and are on treatment, are reflected in the fact that viral load suppression levels among all people living with HIV increased by 18% between 2015 and 2019.
“Almost 66% of people living with HIV globally had suppressed viral loads in 2020. Regrettably though, even with these great strides, the global target for 2020 was not met,” he said.
South Africa’s figure currently stands at 93-72-89 of the cascades for the total population serviced through the public sector. A breakdown of the figures show that adult females at 95-76-90; adult males at 92-65-90; and, children at 80-66-65.
“This progress shows that like our regional counterparts, we still have a long way towards reaching sub-populations including children. Innovative interventions are needed to ensure that we reach our 90-90-90 targets as we transition to the 95-95-95 targets,” he said.
Mabuza added that in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, self-care interventions such as HIV self-screening have shown to be critical to ensure that the under-tested and test-averse populations, including key populations, youth and men in general, are reached with testing services.
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