HIV: 20-million South Africans tested

28 September 2012

More than 20-million South Africans have come forward to be screened and tested for various diseases, including HIV, since President Jacob Zuma launched the country’s HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign in 2009.

The HCT campaign has been one of government’s most important strategies to combat HIV/Aids and TB, as it aims to ensure that people know their status so that they can receive early treatment.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, speaking at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday during the launch of a campaign to intensify HIV testing and counselling among the country’s 1.3-million public servants, said it was crucial for the public service to lead by example in promoting a culture of taking responsibility for one’s own health.

“It is important that we step up our campaigns and programmes within the public sector, ensuring that each employee is encouraged to know their status, to support their relatives to do the same, and to promote a healthy lifestyle overall.

“We want to encourage other sectors to follow this lead and extend services to their employees and the communities in which they work,” Motlanthe said.

“From all these intervention, we are confident that a future of zero new infections, zero discrimination, zero Aids-related deaths and zero new infections due to vertical transmission is within reach.”

Thursday’s campaign launch saw more than 900 public servants from various government departments getting the opportunity to test themselves for HIV and be screened for other diseases.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, also speaking at the launch, challenged government employees to eat healthily, exercise and stop smoking and drinking. “It is very important for this country,” he said.