US, SOUTH AFRICA AFFIRM PARTNERSHIP IN FIGHTING HIV
Last Updated: 2012-08-09
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PRETORIA, Aug 9 (NNN-SANEWS) -- Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on a visit to the Delft South Clinic in the Western Cape on Wednesday.

During the visit, the two witnessed the signing of the Partnership Framework Implementation Plan (PFIP) - a document outlining the two countries' plans on the road to 2017 for collaboration toward an Aids-free generation in South Africa.

The visit affirmed a strong and continuing partnership between South Africa and the US on HIV and Aids and TB programmes amid fears that the proposed White House budget for 2013 would cut the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) by around $550 million, threatening the success of programmes around the world, including South Africa.

The US has provided over R26 billion to support South Africa's response through PEPFAR.

US Embassy spokesperson Brian Denver said his country would continue to strongly support South Africa's national HIV and TB response during and beyond the five-year timeframe covered in the PFIP.

Emphasis, he said, would be on technical assistance to further strengthen the country's capacity to respond, as well as aspects of combination prevention and care for orphans and vulnerable children.

"With the South African government in the lead, coordinated planning and alignment of implementation with PEPFAR and other development partners like the Global Fund will lead to an increase in access to health and social services," said Denver, echoing Clinton's remarks from Tuesday's press conference in Pretoria.

During the briefing, Clinton said the US was "still seriously committed" to eradicating HIV and Aids and would continue to avail resources in this regard.

"We all agree that we are working toward this HIV free generation and America commits to be part of that fight. We will see this fight through the end with our partners, including South Africa," Clinton said.

South Africa has taken many steps forward in the fight against HIV and Aids. Government now provides access to antiretroviral treatment to over 1.7 million people, and has reduced the percentage of new paediatric HIV infections due to mother-to-child transmission from 8% in 2008 to 2.7% in 2011.

In 20 months, South Africa tested 20 million people for HIV. -- NNN-SAnews