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World Aids Day: Stigma attached to HIV continues to have severe impact in SA

Sanac says the societal stigma attached to HIV continues to have a severe impact on the number of people infected.

FILE: Indian social activists and children release a World AIDS Day awareness sign tied with ballons in Kolkata on 1 December, 2015. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG – The South African National Aids Council (Sanac) says the societal stigma attached to HIV continues to have a severe impact on the number of people infected, but not on treatment.

Thursday marks World Aids Day and as events to raise awareness take place across the world, South Africa has broken grounds by launching the first Aids vaccination.

Sanac says the country has come a long way and made some improvements in the fight against HIV and Aids, particularly in the reduction of mother-to-child infections.

Doctor Constance Kganakga from Sanac says there’s much progress been made in the country in relation to fighting the scourge..

She says much more needs to be done in fighting the stigma, which she says the perception alone is still horribly negative.

“The stigma is still maintained, therefore they won’t be able to disclose to their families, they won’t be able to take treatment among friends and family members. They won’t be able to go to the clinic to take medication to adhere to treatment. And, therefore, we’ll not be able to reach our goals as we first have to make people go and test.”

Kganakga says mother-to-child infections have also been reduced.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)