South Africa to launch massive HIV/AIDS campaign

Johannesburg, March 31 ( South Africa, which has over five million people with HIV/AIDS, will launch a large nationwide campaign against the disease in April.

With a target of reaching 15 million people by 2011, the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign will be launched April 15 when tests for rape victims, male circumcision and distribution of condoms will be done on a massive scale, the country’s health minister Aaron Motsoaledi told BuaNews, the state-owned news agency.

Male circumcision and distribution of condoms has been accorded top priority by the ministry. South Africa needs 2.5 billion male condoms each year and 177 million have been purchased for the initial phase of the campaign.

Ninety-one million condoms were distributed last week, the minister was quoted as saying by BuaNews.

Motsoaledi said during the campaign, the department will introduce medical male circumcision on a large scale.

By 2015, around 2.5 million male circumcisions will be conducted and the minister himself pledged to perform 1,000 of them.

The minister assured rape victims that they will no longer need a case number before getting treatment at health institutions.

When a victim arrives at a health institution, they won’t be asked to produce a case number before being treated, he said.

“We can no longer allow hospital CEOs to send back rape survivors to the police station to get case numbers first before getting treatment,” he said.

More than 4,300 health facilities will cater to the people during the mission, out of which 490 have already started.