Almost a year subsequent to the last ART moratorium in the Free State, during which the HIV Clinicians Society estimated that an additional thirty people a day died from AIDS due to their inability to access antiretroviral treatment (ART), the CEO of the province’s HIV programme has stated that another moratorium is likely to be implemented this month.
It is government’s responsibility to make ART accessible and sustainable, as stated in the National Strategic Plan (NSP), to which government has committed. The NSP aims to treat 80% of people who need ART by 2011, and to reduce HIV transmission by 50%. The shortage of drugs in the Free State points to a crisis in the implementation of the NSP.
The Advertising Standards Authority of Southern Africa (ASASA) ruled that advertising of the herbal supplement Revivo must be withdrawn in South Africa. Revivo advertising made unsubstantiated and misleading claims that the product works as a treatment for HIV. The ASASA ruling was made in response to a consumer complaint lodged by Patrick Linzer.
TAC is very grateful to Mr. Linzer for making the compliant against Aconite Medical Suppliers cc, the company that produces Revivo. Aconite Medical Suppliers cc has been misleading consumers in order to make a profit.
Uncle John, a 59 year old TAC member who had been openly living with HIV, will be missed. He joined TAC in 2000 and was one of the founders of TAC Atlantis branch on the West Coast of Cape Town. He was very active in the community through gardening projects for support groups. He was also one of the first members to receive ARV treatment with the TAC Treatment Project under Dr Peterson at the time when ARV’s were not available in South Africa. He served as a Treatment literacy educator in the local clinics and hospital in Atlantis. Many TAC members know him as Uncle John.
In the DA Today newsletter of 21 August, Helen Zille condemned the lack of attention paid by the State since 1994 to improving the plight of our society’s deaf and partially-deaf, citing how this neglect serves as “Just another example of the difference between high flown ideology and reality”, and marks a failure to uphold a “Constitutional Duty”. The sentiment is wholly justified – recent efforts to have sign language recognised as an examinable Matric subject stand testament to this – but her argument quickly devolves into one which is blighted by the very aloofness, hypocrisy and disregard for the Constitution she so liberally dolls upon the State.
TAC is deeply saddened by the murder of Nomzoxolo Dziba on the premises of the Sithembele Matiso Secondary School at New Crossroads in Cape Town on the afternoon of Monday 24 August.
Our Constitution is the product of a great struggle for democracy and equality, in which many gave up their lives so that present and future generations of South Africans may have a better life.
In its foundation, the Constitution provided the alternative to civil war. It stands today as a vital guarantor of our individual rights and freedoms against abuses of power.
In its recognition of certain basic socio-economic rights, it provides legal means to support social and political activism, requiring government, now and in future, to proceed progressively to realise the demands of the people for decent health care, education, housing, safety and security, dignity and freedom from poverty.It provides vital means to address the legacy of racial and class-based discrimination and oppression.
With this Constitution, South Africa has been able to hold its head up proudly throughout the world.
The flatlining of PEPFAR and the decision by the Obama presidency to give no funds to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will have a detrimental impact on access to essential medicines in Africa.
Until the “ethic of responsibility” of which the US speaks is reflected in global and national funding commitments, development in sub-Saharan Africa will continue to be held hostage to the grim scenario that is health in the region.
The National Health Council will meet on 6 August to discuss some critical changes to national HIV policy, including recommendations relating to the initiation of antiretroviral therapy. These changes have been proposed by SANAC, and are also reflective of the primary objectives of TAC's Resources for Health campaign.
Approximately 2000 TAC members and TAC allies marched to the International Convention Centre, Cape Town on 19 July 2009. A river of people dressed in red “HIV Positive” t-shirts took to the streets of the city, demanding that government meet its targets for HIV treatment and prevention, as laid out in the National Strategic Plan. The Health Minister, Aaron Motsaoledi, met the crowd, asked for his own t shirt and signed the campaign memorandum. Nonkosi Khumalo, TAC Chairperson, welcomed his support but warned that if TAC was not listened to, its members would be back to protest.
During the period prior to the government roll-out of ARV’s, the TAC established a Treatment Support Programme funded by donations to ensure emergency access to ARV’s for people in need. With the roll-out of the ARV programme in government facilities, we have retained a balance of approximately R750000 in the Treatment Support Programme account from which we are still supporting the ARV needs of a few individuals from the region.