Today, as the world unites to commemorate World AIDS Day, the IFP would like to take a moment to remember all those who have lost their lives, as well as those who have lost family members and loved ones to this devasting virus.
As the world battled Covid-19 over the past two years, there were fears that the fight against HIV/AIDS might be an unintended casualty. However, Covid-19 vaccine research has unexpectedly translated into major gains for HIV/AIDS research. Among others, excellent work was done in South Africa, at the University of Witwatersrand with injectable PrEP – injected monthly, rather than taken daily, like the existing PrEP pills.
According to the virtual HIV Research for Prevention conference (HIVR4P), early in 2021, research findings showed that injectable PrEP will have measurable gains, with “89% fewer HIV infections than women prescribed daily PrEP pills”.
We would like to commend the work done by South African scientists, researchers, and health workers, in the pursuit of more effective treatments and the best possible level of care for all of those living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
As the IFP, we would also like to acknowledge and echo the message shared earlier today by UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima: “End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics.” If we are to meet the UNAIDS target and accomplish their goal – to end AIDS by 2030 – it will require a joint effort. As we have seen with Covid-19, there has been unequal access to vaccines and treatments, with the developing world often being left behind. We cannot – and will not – allow this to happen in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
We further trust that our Department of Health will continue to prioritise its life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART) programme, as well as its prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme when it comes to budgets and resources.
With almost 8 million (as of 2019) South Africans living with HIV/AIDS, South Africa has a vested interest in eradicating AIDS by 2030.
Hon. Mkhuleko Hlengwa, MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539