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South Africa acts on World Aids Day

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South Africa acts on World Aids Day


On World Aids day, the South African President has announced a new programme to distribute anti-retroviral drugs to more people infected with HIV.

It is still not clear exactly how many more will be offered treatment, or how much it will cost, but the announcement is seen as encouraging. South Africa has the world’s highest rate of HIV-AIDS cases, and the government has often been criticised for not doing enough to provide treatment and organise prevention programmes. It is estimated that a thousand people die every day from AIDS. South Africa says from April next year all children under the age of one will get anti-retroviral drugs if they test HIV positive. But again, the exact details of how infected children will receive this treatment are not yet clear. President Zuma has distanced himself from the previous position of ex-leader Mbeki, who was widely criticised for questioning the science of AIDS. Zuma said: “HIV does not discriminate. I am making arrangements for my own test. I have taken an HIV test before, I know my status. I will do another test soon, as part of this campaign.” The US today said it would provide an extra 80 million euros in funding for anti-retroviral drugs after receiving a request from President Zuma.

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