Zuma discloses his HIV status

20100425 BMA President Jacob Zuma launched the roll out of government's new HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment measures that were announced on World Aids Day on the 1st of December last year.the launch at Natalspruit Hospital in Ekurhulen. The launch was at Natalspruit Hospital in Ekurhuleni. Seen here is the President watching the perfomance on stage. Pic. BAFANA MAHLANGU.  25/04/2010. © Sowetan.
20100425 BMA President Jacob Zuma launched the roll out of government's new HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment measures that were announced on World Aids Day on the 1st of December last year.the launch at Natalspruit Hospital in Ekurhulen. The launch was at Natalspruit Hospital in Ekurhuleni. Seen here is the President watching the perfomance on stage. Pic. BAFANA MAHLANGU. 25/04/2010. © Sowetan.

President Jacob Zuma received the loudest applause when he told a gathering in Ekurhuleni yesterday that he was HIV negative, but opposition parties were not impressed.

President Jacob Zuma received the loudest applause when he told a gathering in Ekurhuleni yesterday that he was HIV negative, but opposition parties were not impressed.

Zuma, pictured, said: "I am generally open about my life. There is nothing surprising that I have decided to disclose, that is me.

"After careful consideration, I have decided to share my test results with South Africans. The purpose is to promote openness and to eradicate the silence and stigma that accompanies this epidemic."

Zuma was speaking during the launch of the national counselling and testing campaign at Natalspruit Hospital in Ekurhuleni.

By June next year the government hopes to have tested more than 15million people. Also being checked are high blood pressure, haemoglobin and pap smears.

"The April results, like the three previous ones, registered a negative outcome for the HI virus. I want to emphasise that by disclosing my HIV-negative status, I am not putting pressure on any South African to do the same," Zuma said.

Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter said Zuma was being opportunistic.

"If his results were positive was he going to disclose? He should have indicated before testing that he intends telling everyone his results."

DA chairperson Joe Seremane downplayed the announcement.

"What matters is to test and not the scoring of political points. To disclose is not compulsory."

ID leader Patricia de Lille said it was good of Zuma to make his status known, but he was "too late".

"It is good when leaders lead by example. This will encourage people to go and test. But the president is too late. In 1999 and 2001 I called on political leaders to take Aids tests publicly but he did not."

Zuma said the war against Aids would never be won if people engaged in "witch-hunts" and start campaigns of who was positive or negative "as if this was a game".

He said in keeping with a promise he made in October last year, the government had started making progress in addressing HIV-Aids. Zuma said from April, all children under one year had been getting antiretrovirals when they tested HIV positive irrespective of their CD4 count.

Patients with TB and HIV get antiretroviral treatment if their CD4 count is 350 or less.

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