Fresh ideas better than vegetables

Today, as South Africa joins the world in commemorating World Aids Day, the one good thing worth celebrating is the shift in the government's policy on the pandemic.

Today, as South Africa joins the world in commemorating World Aids Day, the one good thing worth celebrating is the shift in the government's policy on the pandemic.

After years of bickering between Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Aids activists, the government seems to have finally conceded that a new approach is needed for the country to fight the epidemic.

But the celebrations will be tempered by the reality that despite all efforts to raise awareness about the pandemic statistics still paint a shocking picture of rising infection rates - especially among the country's youth and young women.

A report released yesterday says that South Africa's 15-year-olds have a 56 percent chance of dying before turning 60. In 1996 the same grouping only had a 29 percent chance of not making their 60th birthday.

With an estimated 5,4 million South Africans already infected with HIV, what is even more worrying is that 25 years after this deadly pandemic was discovered the world is not even close to finding a cure.

So in addition to revising its Aids policy, the government and all other stakeholders should review their education programmes because current prevention messages do not seem to be making much difference.

Aids prevention is an ongoing project that needs fresh ideas if we are to make any progress.

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