With World AIDS Day approaching on 1 December 2011, the trade union UASA is relieved to learn that a new study by the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) shows that South Africa’s AIDS deaths have dropped by nearly 25 percent, from 257 000 six year ago to 194 000 last year. According to the research the drop is due to scaled up access to life-saving drugs, which government for years had refused to provide.
The aim of World AIDS Day is to bring to people's attention the worldwide challenges and consequences of the pandemic, to prevent the spread of HIV and improve the lives of people living with the virus.
Together with the 2011 World AIDS Day theme, “Getting to Zero - Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths”, UASA urges government, employers and workers to also remember a former World AIDS Day theme, namely "I am responsible, We are responsible, South Africa is taking responsibility".
UASA wants to congratulate employers who despite hard economic times continued to provide AIDS programmes and ant-retroviral medication to workers. We believe that the drop of nearly 25% in AIDS deaths may be partly due to their perseverance.
Together we can tackle the pandemic, further reduce the number of people living with AIDS and work towards a healthier South Africa for all.
UASA is saddened by the fact that the Treatment Action Campaign, an internationally acclaimed AIDS activist movement which has over the past 12 years helped to save and better millions of people’s lives in South Africa, faces a real threat of imminent closure due to a dire funding crisis.
We need organisations like TAC, as well as individuals, to stand up and make their voices heard in our struggle to overcome the AIDS pandemic.