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Naidoo commends TAC’s 'courageous Aids fight'

Jay Naidoo says the TAC was instrumental in highlighting the inequality around access to medication.

FILE: Former Cosatu general secretary Jay Naidoo. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Former Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Jay Naidoo has commended the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) for its work in ensuring that poor people infected with HIV in South Africa are given access to free treatment.

The former Cabinet minister says the TAC was instrumental in highlighting the inequality around access to medication between the rich and the poor.

Naidoo reflected on the TAC's courageous fight a decade ago when it took on a government in denial about HIV and Aids.

"It's an incredibly courageous job to take on our government at a point when it had a limited Aids policy."

But he said the fight is far from over given the inequalities in South Africa.

"It's not just remembering what we have done, it's asking what the outstanding tasks ahead are."

South Africa records at least 400,000 new cases of HIV annually.

The TAC has launched a massive global fundraising campaign in the next few months to avoid closure.

The TAC says complacency around Aids has caused donor priorities to change, resulting in a lack of funding for the organisation.

The organisation, once dubbed the world's beacon of HIV activism by the United Nations, says donor funding cuts have forced it to reduce staff and cut programming at least twice in recent years.

IMPACT OF HIV ON PENSIONERS

Eyewitness News has spoken to several Cape Town grandmothers who complain they're battling to survive while caring for Aids orphaned grand and great grandchildren.

Yunice Mase has spent the past decade raising four grandchildren and three great grandchildren after her two daughters died of Aids.

The Khayelitsha woman says it's a struggle as she's the family's sole breadwinner.

At the moment her family relies on her pension to get by.

"I'm waiting, maybe God can help me one day, that is my hope."

CONCERN OVER INCREASE IN HIV AMONG YOUTH

Western Cape Health authorities are worried about an increase in the HIV and Aids infection rate among young people.

This mirrors what experts are recording on a national level.

The South African National AIDS Council (Sanac) says HIV is increasing among young women between the ages of 15 and 24.

Sanac blames several factors including an increase in risky sexual behaviour.

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