1 December 2010
As countries across the world commemorate World Aids Day, the South African Medical Association has called on the public to get tested for HIV, and to encourage others to do the same.
“We call on the public to continue to be tested and influence others to test for HIV as a routine way of ensuring healthy lifestyle choices, irrespective of status, as HIV and Aids does not discriminate,” SA Medical Association (SAMA) chairman Norman Mabasa said in a statement on Wednesday.
In April, President Jacob Zuma launched an HIV, Counselling and Testing campaign, which aims to get 15-million South Africans tested by June 2011.
To date, 4.9-million people have reported for counselling and testing in the country’s health facilities.
SAMA has also urged all doctors to reaffirm their important role in addressing the epidemic through encouraging all patients to test and be treated if necessary, and to provide ongoing education about the importance of safe sexual practices.
“Collective responsibility will reduce the spread of HIV,” Mabasa said.
Under the theme “We Are Responsible”, South Africa’s 2010 World Aids Day campaign encourages people to show collective responsibility to encourage and support partners, family and community members to test voluntarily for HIV and to set an example for others by leading healthier lifestyles.
Build-up activities for World Aids Day started in November with a series of dialogues between the government and its social partners. These social dialogues will culminate in various Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, premiers and MECs being deployed to various communities across the country today to discuss ways of reducing new HIV infections.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who is also chairman of the South African National Aids Council, will lead the way, visiting families and addressing community members and health care workers in Driefontein in Mpumalanga province.