FACTBOX - South Africa's new HIV/AIDS plan

JOHANNESBURG Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:51am EDT

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa unveiled a new five-year plan on Wednesday to fight HIV/AIDS, hoping to turn the tide against a disease that infects some 5.5 million of the country's 47 million people.

The new plan, among other things, aims to:

- Establish South African National AIDS Council, under the leadership of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, as highest policy and oversight body on HIV/AIDS.

- Reduce the number of new infections by 50 percent.

- Bring treatment, care and support to 80 percent of all HIV-positive people and their families.

- Accelerate programs designed to empower women and educate men on women's rights.

- Design policies aimed at reducing HIV among young people, particularly young women.

- Broaden programs aimed at preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV to at least 95 percent of health facilities.

- Increase availability and uptake of voluntary HIV testing and counseling services.

- Support efforts to develop microbicides and AIDS vaccine research.

- Monitor research on male circumcision and HIV prevention.

- Strengthen anti-discrimination efforts, reduce stigma associated with HIV infection.

- Increase spending on HIV/AIDS. The government plan released on Wednesday did not contain budget figures, but earlier estimates have estimated the costs at between $3.5 and $6 billion.

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