S. Africa to dedicate more resources to tackle HIV/AIDS: deputy president

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Public health institutions were ready to dedicate more resources to tackle HIV/AIDS, TB and COVID-19, said South African Deputy President David Mabuza on Tuesday.

"This is important since HIV and COVID-19 become exacerbated by inequality in lack of access to health infrastructure and social safety nets. For us as government, guaranteeing human rights and public health are mutually inclusive," he said.

Mabuza, chair of the South African National AIDS Council, said this when delivering keynote address at this year's World AIDS Day commemorations at the Itireleng Community Health Centre in Dobsonville, Soweto.

He also conceded that the impact of the pandemic has been been devastating on plans to eradicate AIDS.

"As South Africa, we support the theme of global solidarity and shared responsibility. The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our work to ensure that we end AIDS by 2030, has been significant," he said.

In the fight against HIV, the deputy president said the country had made great strides over the past decade and reduced new infections.

He said the treatment campaign would be expanded and focus mostly on vulnerable groups including young women.

"We are required to put people at the centre, especially the people most at risk of infection and the marginalized, namely, young women and girls, adolescents, sex workers, people who inject drugs, transgender people and gay and other men who have sex with men," he said.

With over 7 million people living with HIV in South Africa and more than 4 million on the antiretroviral treatment, Mabuza said the plan was to increase those on treatment.

"As we record these successes, we need to remain focused and initiate more people on treatment, as well as make sure that they stay on treatment and are virally suppressed," he added.

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