South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has revealed that he is HIV-negative.
He announced his own test results during the launch of an ambitious HIV testing and counselling programme.
Zuma who has three wives has been criticised for promiscuity after admitting having fathered a child outside marriage and for taking a cavalier attitude to safe sex.
“My April results, like the three previous ones, registered a negative outcome for the HIV virus,” said President Zuma. “I am not putting pressure on any South African to do the same. It’s my decision.”
It is estimated that around six million of South Africa’s 50 million population are infected with the HIV virus.
The campaign hopes to get a third of the population tested during the next year and to provide drugs to 80 percent of those needing them.
By publicising his results, Zuma says he hopes to promote openness and to eradicate the silence and stigma that accompanies the epidemic.