Get tested for HIV, and get your Covid-19 vaccine – deputy president
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Pretoria – Deputy President David Mabuza said South Africa has displayed resilience in fighting the decades-old Aids pandemic, and unprecedented fortitude in the ongoing fight against the raging Covid-19 pandemic amidst the latest mutation of the virus.
“The coronavirus continues to mutate with new variants, causing strain in our health system and livelihoods. Even as we confront this challenge, we remain confident that the ongoing vaccination programme will save our lives and get us back to a state of normality,” Mabuza said while commemorating World Aids Day at Saselamani Stadium, Xikundu Village in Limpopo.
“For we are a resilient nation that has demonstrated amazing ability to focus our energies to tackle and overcome serious challenges that threaten to divide us as a people and tear us apart as a country. In this case too, we will emerge victorious.”
He told the gathering that in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa had, to date, administered over 25 million vaccines to more than 16 million individuals, which translates into 41% of the adult population.
“We can still do more and we are optimistic that South Africans will rise to the occasion in order to meet our set target,” said Mabuza.
In June of this year, South Africa participated in the UN High Level Meeting on Aids where world leaders made a commitment through a political declaration to end HIV/Aids and inequalities in their respective countries.
All member states, including South Africa, made a commitment despite the Covid-19 setbacks, to get their countries back on track in order to realise the global vision of ending HIV/Aids as a public health threat by the year 2030.
“That is why (on Wednesday) we join the world in commemorating World Aids Day 2021 under the theme, ’Working Together to End Inequalities, Aids, TB and Covid-19. Get Tested. Get Vaccinated. Adhere to Treatment’,” said Mabuza.
He said the 2021 theme indicates that inequalities, HIV/Aids and pandemics are interlinked.
“It further implies that the objective of ending Aids must be considered in the context of a fairer and more equitable society with strengthened health systems and improved social security. It is a theme that is inspired by our determination to end Aids as a public health threat by 2030 and our commitment to make strides towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, more specifically the goal on good health and well-being of the people,” he said.
“Equally, it is a call to encourage everyone of us to get tested so that we know our health status, not only for HIV, TB, and Covid-19, but for non-communicable diseases as well.”
This year marks 40 years since the first cases of what later became known as HIV/Aids were officially reported. Mabuza said since then, 75 million people in the world have become infected with HIV, with more than 8 million of these cases being in South Africa.
“Over 33 million people in the world have since died from Aids-related illnesses since the start of the global Aids epidemic,” said Mabuza.