Private sector urged to fight scourge

THE Global Fund is encouraging the private sector to get involved in the fight against the HIV-Aids epidemic

Launching the workplace programme yesterday, South African Breweries, South African Business Coalition on HIV and Aids and Global Fund came together and urged others in the private sector to play their part.

David Evans, Global Fund manager of the resource mobilisation unit, said: "The fight against HIV-Aids can only be won through an effective public-private sectors partnership.

"Of course, the private sector should provide resources, skills, energy and the creativity of its people to fight the epidemic."

Evans said the struggle against the epidemic needed the creativity and the funds of the private sector to introduce new prevention methods.

"We are now at a stage of treatment through the distribution of medication. This is expensive and we can't afford it.

"We need to take this back to the prevention stage, which is not as expensive," Evans said.

The partnership between the three has introduced initiatives which aim at counselling, testing and the distribution of condoms.

The Tavern Intervention Programme, which was launched last year, is aimed at distributing condoms at taverns and shebeens throughout the country.

Last year, more than 1,8million condoms were distributed in three months at 3 500 taverns.

"This brings awareness to men. They are becoming alert to their alcohol abuse, gender-based violence and the way in which they treat their partners," Genieve Frick, the project manager, said.

Another initiative being undertaken by the partnership is the HIV counselling and testing. The national HCT strategy seeks to test 15 million people out of the 30million targeted through social mobilisation.

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