DURBAN, 13 June 2017 — Ahead of the 8th SA AIDS Conference, to be held in Durban, on 13-15 June, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) is calling on South Africans to support and implement the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The NSP, a guide for the country’s response to these infections, seeks to reduce new HIV infections by 63% – from 270 000 in 2016 to less than 100 000 by 2022.

South Africa has made exceptional progress in tackling these infections, however HIV, TB and STIs remain national health, social and development priorities. 270 000 people became newly infected with HIV last year, 100 000 of whom were adolescent girls and young women and more than 3 million more people need to receive lifelong HIV treatment. TB is our leading cause of death and large numbers of South Africans have untreated, asymptomatic sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“Successful implementation of the NSP is critical,” said Dr. Connie Kganakga Acting CEO of SANAC. “We are entering a make or break point that will determine whether we end HIV and TB or whether the epidemics will be prolonged indefinitely.”

The development of the Plan began with a national 18 sector civil society consultation in September 2016 and a 400 participant national multi-stakeholder consultation and it ended with the Plan’s endorsement by the national cabinet in March 2017. In between there was extensive further consultation to solicit the exceptional experience and insight of those living with these diseases, working in the field or researching it. There was also an open call for comments on drafts of the Plan.

The NSP wants 90% of all people living with HIV to know their HIV status, 90% diagnosed with HIV infection to get their antiretroviral treatment and 90% of them to have the virus suppressed. The NSP also aims to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission and reduce new TB infections.

The 2017-2022 Plan has adopted a “focus for impact” approach, which will see an intensified focus on districts and locations with high burdens of HIV, STIs and/or TB; on adolescent girls and young women and on tailoring interventions for the key and vulnerable populations so that nobody is left behind.

“The National Strategic Plan is a key anchor in our shared commitment to ending HIV, TB and STIs and needs the full backing of all South Africans,” said Kganakga.

For more information, please contact SANAC Communications Manager Kanya Ndaki 0832986100

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