HEALTH Minister Aaron Motsoaledi will address the world's largest Aids gathering in Vienna, Austria, later this year.
Organisers of the 18th International Aids Conference (Aids 2010) said Bill Clinton and Motsoaledi would be among 19 high-level speakers who will address about 25000 delegates.
Aids 2010 will take place from July 18 to 23 under the theme "Rights Here, Right Now".
Clinton will deliver the keynote address on July 19, while Motsoaledi's presentation will be on July 20.
Motsoaledi's invitation is a clear sign that he has been embraced by the HIV-Aids world, which has in the past been at odds with the SA government's response to the epidemic.
"We are delighted to have secured these two high-level keynote speakers at this crucial time in the global response to HIV," Aids 2010 chairperson JulioMontaner said.
"Universal access is a commitment that wealthy nations made to Africa and to millions of people in low- and middle-income countries in 2005, and those of us assembling in Vienna will not watch silently as the resources needed to make good on that promise falter."
The conference theme has been selected to emphasise the connection between human rights and HIV.
Human rights will also be the focus of a march and rally in Vienna on July 20, which will include a speech and a performance by singer and activist Annie Lennox.
"Through several plenary presentations we will demonstrate how stigma and discrimination are undermining public health," said Aids 2010 local co-chairperson Brigitte Schmied, president of the Austrian Aids Society.
"Equally important, we will show what is being done to address these barriers in the world."
The opening session will also feature a speech by UNAids executive director Michel Sidibé.
South African activists Paula Akugizibwe, of the Aids and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa, and Vuyiseka Dubula, of Treatment Action Campaign, will also address the conference.
Akugizibwe will speak on the State of the Epidemic: Human Rights and the Response, while Dubula will deliver a speech on Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention. - Health-e news