1 December 2009
As South Africa joins the world in observing World Aids Day, the United States has committed R900-million over two years for the provision of anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs in the country.
This extra funding will procure life-saving ARVs to help ensure that there are adequate stocks on hand to meet the growing demand for ARVs in South Africa.
“This funding provides a bridge to help individual South Africans gain access to ARVs,” US Ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips said on Monday. “We are pleased and honoured to respond to President Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s partner in this fight.”
According to the US embassy in Pretoria, this funding is over and above the R4.2-billion budgeted for the regular US government contribution to the fight against HIV/Aids in South Africa for the 2010 fiscal year.
The funding will help the national Department of Health and provincial departments to meet their ARV treatment goals and to build capacity in the provinces for planning and forecasting ARV needs, and is in direct response to a request from Zuma.
“The United States has a remarkable relationship with South Africa in the fight against HIV and Aids, and South Africa has made significant and real strides in testing and counselling citizens about receiving treatment,” Gips said.
Through the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar), the US has made the largest commitment in history by a single nation to combat the disease.
They have provided more than $25-billion globally to the fight against HIV/Aids, with support to South Africa totalling over R10-billion from 2004 to 2009.