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.