'We are losing war on Aids'

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma says South Africa is not winning the war against HIV-Aids.

Speaking to the National Council of Provinces yesterday, Zuma said the number of young women who were dying in their child-bearing years was even more disturbing.

He said the government would not give up on its goal of reducing the rate of new infections by 50percent, and getting antiretrovirals to 80percent of those who need it by 2011 but "we need a massive change in behaviour and attitude especially among the youth".

Recent health statistics show that 60percent of people die before they turn 50.

"More and more people are dying young, threatening even to outnumber hosewho die in old age," he said, pointing out that 756000 people died last year, up from the 573000 who died in 2007.

Zuma also lauded the medium-term budget policy statement presented by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, saying it put the interests of ordinary South Africans, "particularly the poor and the vulnerable", at the centre of government's work.

"It recognises that we will need to borrow more to meet our needs."