In South Africa, approximately 2 000 womxn are newly infected with HIV every week. Every year, over 270 000 people acquire both HIV and TB, making it the leading cause of death in South Africa.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is one of South Africa’s prominent HIV/AIDS lobbying groups. They aim to encourage everyone in South Africa fighting HIV with the treatment they need to manage the disease. According to The New York Times, TAC has been described as “the world’s most effective AIDS group”. However, TAC has refused to support South Africa’s new HIV/AIDS, TB, and STI treatment plan.
The new treatment plan is said to drastically reduce the number of fatalities caused by HIV/AIDS, TB, and STIs. The promises include an HIV counselling and testing campaign, a commitment to providing HIV treatment for all who require it, and increased preventative measure such as providing condoms at schools.
It also acknowledges the fact that measures need to be taken to identify people who are exposed to those with HIV/AIDS, TB, and STIs in order to prevent further infection. However, TAC states that this plan is simply not feasible given South Africa’s poor public health care system and the government’s lack of commitment to the plan.
TAC emphasises that the plan reinforces a lack of accountability as policies set at a national level go unimplemented within provinces due to poor management. This may result in failure before it has even begun.
The plan may, however, be successful if the South African National Aids Council addresses these problems by drafting addendums, such as plans to provide guidance on a provincial level, finance the possible costs of employing more health care workers, and provide more treatment for those who are infected.
Without the serious overhaul of the current ideas and implementation, the government’s newest treatment plan for HIV/AIDS, TB, and STIs may fail to see any results.
Words by Francis Makkink