Thirty years into the AIDS epidemic, and 10 years since the landmark UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, the world will come together to review progress and chart the future course of the global AIDS response at the 2011 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS from 8–10 June 2011 in New York. Deliberations on the draft declaration to be adopted at the conclusion of the HLM have commenced and some of the delegations have raised concerns regarding lack of consensus on key issues and principles that must underpin this new declaration.
Joint TAC/SECTION27 statement
Transparent governance, free expression and a free press are essential components of democracy. They are the means by which all people in South Africa, especially the vulnerable and poor, can hold our government to account. Our effectiveness at getting the state to implement HIV treatment and prevention programmes has been dependent on the Constitution being upheld, especially the Bill of Rights.
Ahead of the Durban Aids Conference and in preparation to develop the new National Strategic Plan (NSP), the National PLHIV sector is meeting from 27-28 May 2011 at the Lakes Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg. This summit will be attended by TAC sector representatives from seven provinces , TAC partners and UNAIDS-SA office to review the current NSP and make recommendations for the new NSP. A keynote address will be given by the Director General from the Department of Health, Ms Precious Matsoso on Saturday 28 May 2011.
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), World AIDS Campaign (WAC), the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA), and SECTION27 last week issued a joint letter to the South African government, including President Jacob Zuma, calling on the country to provide critical leadership in ensuring increased access to HIV services ahead of a crucial United Nations High Level meeting on HIV/AIDS.
The HIV & AIDS and STI Strategic Plan for South Africa 2007-2011 (National Strategic Plan, NSP) marked the turnaround in the South African government's policy on HIV/AIDS when it was adopted by Cabinet in 2007. It is also against the targets in this plan, particularly the treatment target, that government has been held accountable since then.
Today South Africa will have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership for the developing world as the G20 Finance Ministers gather in Washington D.C. to discuss a bold new plan for financing development, health and climate change.
The financing mechanism under discussion is a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) that could potentially raise hundreds of billions of dollars to be spent on internationally agreed upon development priorities. This would involve placing a modest levy on financial transactions, between 0.005 and 0.5%. Transactions under discussion include equities/shares, debt/bonds or currency and their derivatives. Covering a range of financial transactions will maximise the revenue raised for development.
TAC responds to misrepresentations by DA spokesperson Gareth Van Onselen. Van Onselen has attempted to defend the DA's claim that it is responsible for a drop in infant mortality in Cape Town of 25 in 2003 to 21 in 2009. But his defence is simply incorrect.
Photo source: Wikipedia
The Democratic Alliance has claimed that it is responsible for a decline in infant mortality in Cape Town. We have examined the publicly available data. Since the DA took office in 2006, infant mortality has not changed for the city as a whole. It has increased in Khayelitsha.
Tuberculosis (TB) has been one of the most important causes of premature death in South Africa. But the HIV epidemic has made it much worse, causing recorded TB deaths to triple from 1997 to 2005. TB kills more people in South Africa than any other disease. In Southern Africa and Eastern Europe, we face the growth of a drug-resistant TB epidemic. In Kwazulu-Natal the mortality rate from extensively drug resistant TB is close to 80%. TB is an enormous and frightening problem.