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South Africa: Campaign Launched to Medically Circumcise One Million Men
Source: wwwSAnews.gov.za
Source Date: Monday, December 02, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Dec 02, 2013

“Our target is to circumcise one million men over the next 12 months and cumulatively four million men by 2016. The re-launch of the HCT [HIV, Counselling and Testing] and the launch of the MMC campaigns will enhance the medical interventions to strengthen our country’s massive prevention effort,” said Motlanthe.

He added, however, that bio-medical interventions were only one prong of the efforts to fight HIV and Aids. “We also need to ramp up our efforts to address the social determinants that fuel the HIV and Aids epidemic. These include disempowered women and children, who are often the targets of violence, poverty, the migrant labour system, intergenerational sex, transactional sex and many other structural issues,” Motlanthe told a packed marquee.
World Aids Day was also used to relaunch the HIV, Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign which is a step further in ensuring that the country meets its National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2012-2016 for every South African to get tested at least once annually.

Motlanthe said the starting point for preventing HIV and Aids was to always know one’s status. “You may have tested in 2010 or 2011, test again this year, and every year,” he said. The HCT campaign was first launched in 2010 by President Jacob Zuma, and since then, 20 million South Africans have tested for HIV and know their status and are thus empowered to take appropriate steps to maintain their health.

“In South Africa, the epidemic has matured and the acceleration of our response since 2009 has moved us beyond the ‘tipping point’, where the number of patients being enrolled onto treatment each year, now exceeds the number of those who are newly infected.

“However, the number of new infections still remains unacceptably high, hence the importance of maintaining our focus on prevention … our response will not succeed unless we turn off the tap of new infections,” Motlanthe highlighted.
He added that the MMC and HCT campaign and the effort to address the social determinants that fuel the dual epidemic, will only succeed with the all-round participation of all stakeholders.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said the HCT campaign had helped upscale the country’s HIV and Aids treatment programme, which was now the biggest in the world.

“We want the campaign to restart so that we meet the NSP 2012-2016 target for every South African being tested at least once per annum,” he said.
The World Aids Day event was held in the Gert Sibande District, which has one of the highest HIV prevalence figures in the country.

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza assured the Deputy President that the province had heard the message - as it was the second time the event was held in the province.

“In partnership with civic society, we now have the Mpumalanga Aids Council and all the municipalities have local Aids Councils. We’ve set up a programme to work on and we’ve made a difference. We are doing everything in our power to close the gap.”

He urged traditional leaders to work with the provincial Aids Council to encourage men in communities to get medically circumcised.
Earlier in the day, the Deputy President and a delegation visited the Uzwelo Child and Youth Care Centre.
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