About a month ago the South African National AIDS Council released the results of the first ever survey of HIV related stigma and discrimination done in the country since the outbreak of the epidemic three decades ago. It calculated a Stigma Index for South Africa after interviewing 10 000 People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
Nelson Mandela would have loved to have heard the findings of this survey. He would have felt vindicated about his approach to AIDS. 'HIV is not only a disease, it is a human rights issue,' he said famously at the 46664 concert held in Cape Town in November 2003. He, more than any leader in Africa, emphasised the need to address the stigma associated with AIDS and to treat it like any other disease, 'like TB, like cancer.'
Mandela explicitly addressed stigma in 2005 when he told journalists who had gathered at his Johannesburg home that his son Makgatho, aged 54, had died of AIDS.
The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) welcomes new findings announced today that AIDS targets of MDG 6—halting and reversing the spread of HIV—have been achieved and exceeded.
According to a new report released today by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), new HIV infections have fallen by 35 % and AIDS-related deaths by 41%. In addition, the goal of 15 million people on life-saving HIV treatment by 2015 has been met nine months ahead of schedule.
On Friday 3 July, SANAC launched a national television advertising campaign that aims to encourage people who are HIV positive or have TB, and have experienced some sort of discrimination due to their health status, to phone the Legal Aid advice line for professional legal advice. It also encourages people who are living with HIV and need support to phone the AIDS helpline for advice and counselling
The advertisements are part of SANAC’s national stigma campaign, which also includes radio and commuter media. The campaign was officially launched on 9 June by SANAC Chair Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the SA AIDS Conference.
Ramaphosa, together with Deputy Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla, also released findings from the National Stigma Index, a survey that gathered information from 10 473 people living with HIV (PLHIV) and was undertaken by the Human Sciences Research Council on behalf of SANAC. Key partners in the survey were the National Association of People Living with AIDS (NAPWA), the Positive Women’s Network, and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).
In a statement released on 10 June 2015, Cabinet welcomed the release of the findings.
SANAC held its first ever Lekgotla in Ekhuruleni from 5-6 June bringing together stakeholders to deliberate on issues affecting SANAC and the country’s HIV response.
During the first day of the meeting, participants split up into commissions to brainstorm, discuss and make proposals on various issues in preparation for the plenary session on Saturday.
SANAC Chair Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the plenary session on Saturday, giving a frank appraisal of the progress made by SANAC as well as outlining the challenges and opportunities ahead.
SANAC participated in a number of events during the SA AIDS Conference, the country’s largest gathering of HIV researchers, policymakers, activists and people living with HIV. The conference was held in Durban, South Africa, from 9 to12 June. Links to slide presentations at SANAC satellite sessions will be added as they become available.
ALL CONTENT © 2013 (SANAC) SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL AIDS COUNCIL