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More focus needed on testing people for HIV/Aids, say experts

The 9th South African Aids Conference wrapped up at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on Friday.

The 9th South African Aids Conference kicked off in Durban on Tuesday. On the day of its opening, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize launched the SA Human Rights Plan. Deputy President Mabuza is expected outline the implementation of this plan. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Medical experts said more focus needed to be on diagnosing HIV/Aids and getting patients on treatment.

The 9th South African Aids Conference wrapped up at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on Friday.

The conference highlighted best practices to improve control of the epidemic.

Scientists, medical practitioners, and public-sector representatives gathered from Tuesday to brainstorm ideas that would end the HIV epidemic.

More than 3,000 people were attending the conference focusing on innovation and new technology to help fight the disease.

The South African Medical Research Council's Professor Glenda Gray highlighted the importance of these mechanisms to completely eradicate HIV.

“The current mechanism strategies that we have are keeping the infection at bay, but it’s not going to be enough to turn the tide. We need innovation in diagnostics, new drugs, and preventing HIV,” she said.

Grey said more than six million people in the country were infected with the virus. South Africa has the world's largest HIV treatment programme.

Meanwhile, Deputy President David Mabuza was expected to deliver the closing address at the conference.

As deputy president of the country, Mabuza’s responsibilities include chairing the South African National Aids Council.

In a statement issued by the Presidency on Friday, Mabuza's address was expected to conclude on discussions that focused on new directions and priorities for the country's response to HIV and Aids.

His address was also expected to offer clarity regarding the implementation of the South African Human Rights Plan that was launched by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at the commencement of the conference on Tuesday.