TAC positive about new HIV plan

Pumza Fihlani and Sapa

Pumza Fihlani and Sapa

The Treatment Action Campaign reacted with enthusiasm to the government's new plan to fight HIV and Aids yesterday.

"The new plan to combat HIV and Aids is the best we've seen thus far," said TAC spokesman Sipho Mthathi yesterday.

The government and the TAC have been at loggerheads in the past about how to deal with the Aids pandemic, but that conflict might be a thing of the past.

Mthathi said yesterday they were happy with the new plan because it touched on a lot of issues that had been previously overlooked.

"We can already recognise significant departures from the previous plan [for 2000-05], which didn't have targets or recognise the drivers of the epidemic," he said.

"This plan goes a long way towards painting a true picture of the impact HIV and Aids has had one our people.

"It speaks to the needs of people with HIV and Aids and tables how to meet those needs," Mthathi said.

He said that though the TAC was impressed with the plan, the message regarding the co-infection possibilities between TB and HIV-Aids was not strong enough.

"We had hoped that this would be addressed more firmly, especially in the light of XDR-TB," Mthathi said.

Mthathi said according to the plan 80percent of people who need treatment for HIV and Aids will receive it.

The Health Department's head of HIV and Aids programmes, Nomonde Xundu, said the plan was focused on the key areas of prevention, treatment, care and support, research and monitoring, and human and legal rights.

It is expected to cost R4,6billion in the first year.

A final draft of the new plan is due to be presented to a restructured South African National Aids Council at the end of the month.