As the world commemorated World
AIDS Day on December 1, the Democratic Alliance (DA) encouraged all citizens to get screened and tested for HIV and TB, always use a condom, avoid risky sexual behaviour and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In the event of an HIV-diagnosis, the party also encouraged people to start
treatment immediately and to stay on ARV treatment.
The party called on Limpopo MEC for Health Phophi Ramathuba and the
Limpopo Department of Health to accelerate interventions in the province to
achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target.
The 90-90-90 target seeks to ensure that 90% of all people living with HIV know their status,90 % of all people with an HIV diagnosis are put on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and 90% of all people on ARV treatment achieve viral suppression.
In Limpopo’s June 2019 statistics the province had almost 600 000 people living with HIV and was at 93-67-77 in terms of their performance in pursuit of the 90-90-90 target across the total population. Adult females in the province were at
94-71-80, Adult males at 91-59-74 and children at 78-60-54.
The province’s districts performance in pursuit of the 90-90-90 target are as
follows: Capricorn – 93-66-77, Mopani – 93-71-80,Sekhukhune- 93- 68-79, Vhembe – 93-61-76 and Waterberg – 93-69-73
“The Department should be commended for
achieving the first 90% target across all districts and sub populations but
it is clear that there is a growing number of adults and children who have
been previously diagnosed, but are not on antiretroviral therapy (ART). This
number will include people who had started ART and defaulted, as well as
those who were never initiated.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has restricted movement and provision of testing and treatment
services in the province and has further compounded the problem of people
defaulting on taking treatment. According to the June 2019 statistics in
order to achieve 90-90-90 targets, Limpopo must increase the number of adult
men on ART by 46 944, adult women by 55031 and children by 10435,”said DA’s
He said Ramathuba and the Limpopo Department of Health need to focus on accelerating prevention strategies to reduce new HIV infections, accelerate initiation onto ART in the underperforming districts and sub populations, but must also aim to put
measures in place to ensure that people continue the use of ART.