The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) is a voluntary association of institutions established by the national cabinet of the South African Government to build consensus across government, civil society and all other stakeholders to drive an enhanced country response to the scourges of HIV, TB and STIs. The Council is not a juristic person. Under the direction of SANAC, the government of South Africa created the South African National AIDS Council Trust as the legal entity that is charged with achieving its aims. The SANAC Secretariat exists to implement the objects of the SANAC Trust established in terms of the Trust Property Control Act.
The main objectives of the Council are to:
South Africa has a generalised HIV epidemic, which has stabilised over the last four years at a national antenatal prevalence of around 30%. In 2009, an estimated 17.9% of the adult population was living with HIV. This is estimated to be 5.63 million people, including 3.3 million women and 334 000 children.
HIV infection fuels the tuberculosis epidemic, with more than 70% of patients co-infected with both infections. The highest prevalence of TB infection is among people aged 30-39 years who are living in townships and informal settlements.
South Africa currently ranks the third highest in the world in terms of the TB burden, with an incidence that has increased by 400% over the past 15 years. There is a wide variation in HIV and TB prevalence across age, race, gender, socio-economic status and geographical location. It is estimated that 80% of the South African population is infected with the TB bacillus. However, not everyone who is infected will progress to active TB disease. Certain populations are at higher risk of TB infection and re-infection. These include health care workers, miners, prisoners, prison officers and household contacts of confirmed TB patients. In addition, certain groups are particularly vulnerable to progressing from TB infection to TB disease. These include children, people living with HIV, diabetics, smokers, alcohol and substance users, people who are malnourished or have silicosis, mobile, migrant and refugee populations and people living and working in poorly ventilated environments. These groups are considered "key populations" for TB.
The TB infection rate places South Africa as the third country with the highest level of TB in the world after India and China. South Africa recorded 970 new infections per 100, 000 people in 2009. The number grew to 981 people newly-infected with TB out of every 100 000 in 2010 and 993 new infections per 100 000 in 2011.
Whilst STIs such as syphilis have decreased in most provinces over the past 10 years, the prevalence of herpes simplex, which is a co-factor in the acquisition for HIV, is still high in many sectors of the population.
The acronym SANAC is short for South African National AIDS Council. This is a body that brings together government, civil society and the private sector under one umbrella to construct a controlled and co-ordinated response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic. This inclusiveness is illustrated in the leadership of SANAC which is led by the country’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa and Mmapaseka “Steve” Letsike, a member of civil society who is the deputy chairperson of SANAC. Although SANAC was formed to respond to the AIDS challenge, its mandate expands to cover TB and STIs, which are closely linked to HIV and AIDS.
Work around HIV and AIDS and TB requires a lot of funding. SANAC’s primary source of funding comes from government, through the national Department of Health. Other funding comes from international donors. We then channel these funds to specific programmes aimed at addressing HIV and AIDS, TB & STIs in the country.
SANAC has a broad range of objectives which include, but are not restricted, to the following… to foster dialogue between government, civil society and all other stakeholders and to oversee the country’s response to HIV, TB and STIs; to advise government on HIV and AIDS, TB and STI policy and strategy and related matters; to mobilise resources domestically and internationally to finance the response to HIV, TB and STIs, including but not limited to estimating expenditure and resource needs; and to ensure the monitoring of progress against the targets set in the NSP.
The vision of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) is a long-term one. It is to ensure a healthy life for all South Africans. Our vision is underpinned by the commitment to ZERO new HIV and TB infections, ZERO preventable HIV and TB deaths and ZERO HIV and TB discrimination. We are a long way from ZERO on all three of these fronts.
Through the rollout of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV and AIDS, TB and STIs (2012 – 2016), SANAC has the duty to support and to promote the following goals of the NSP:
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