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South African President Addresses Increased Access To Antiretrovirals, Reduction In HIV Incidence

South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday said he wants to have 80 percent of HIV-positive South Africans who need antiretrovirals (ARVs) on them by 2011, BuaNews reports (BuaNews/allAfrica.com, 6/3). The announcement was part of Zuma’s first state-of-the-nation address, when he discussed ways the government would strive to “step up measures to improve health care in Africa’s strongest economy,” Reuters writes. “We have set ourselves the goals of reducing inequalities in health care … and step up the fight against the scourge of HIV and AIDS, TB and other diseases,” Zuma said (Roelf, Reuters, 6/4).

“Over 630,000 people are on [the] government’s [ARV] programme currently,” BuaNews/allAfrica.com writes, and provisions are in place to increase that number to 1.4 million by 2011 or 2012. During his address Zuma also discussed the need for the government to collaborate with stakeholders on a comprehensive plan “which aims to reduce the rate of new HIV infections by 50 percent by the year 2011,” BuaNews writes (BuaNews, 6/3).