Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

South Africa: Drugs for HIV+ Babies


According to a report from the BBC, South African president Jacob Zuma announced today, World AIDS Day, that his government would provide all HIV-positive babies under the age of one with antiretrovirals. He also promised that the drugs would become more widely available to children and pregnant women. Zuma said in his speech at the Pretoria Showgrounds that he was preparing to take an AIDS test himself. He urged everyone to test.

While this may seem a drop in the proverbial ocean, it is also an urgent and imperative about-face from a government that ignored AIDS for too long. A decade of denialism has cost hundreds of thousands of South Africans their lives. It is estimated that by 2015, 5.7 million children – a third of South Africa’s children – will have lost one or both parents to AIDS. There are currently 1.4 million AIDS orphans in the country. I read a blog run by orphan careworkers. Go and see the faces. These are the children who no longer have parents because the South African government acted too slowly to contain the epidemic.

Zuma’s announcement is a positive change, say AIDS activists Treatment Action Campaign. Let’s hope so. Let’s see the South African government save lives instead of waste them.

ETA: Times Live journalist, the very excellent Claire Keeton says World AIDS Day 2009 in South Africa was “an historic event”.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

11 thoughts on “South Africa: Drugs for HIV+ Babies

  1. HIV is very difficulty for all who have it. Inequalities do seem to occur for some women and children and I imagine it would be very difficult. An estimated 33 million people have HIV but on 4 million are receiving treatment – hopefully improvement can be seen in South Africa

  2. it’s so hard on this day not to be angry – the inequities in funding and treatment mean some continue to live long healthy lives, while millions of others die unnoticed by the world.

    but where there is help, there is hope. and it’s that hope that so many hang on to.

  3. It’s good to hear this, even if it IS late in coming and preceded by enormous suffering. Because it always matters when someone in power changes course and does the right thing.

  4. I’m glad to hear about this, but at the same time it is appalling to think of that many children, that proportion of children, orphaned.

  5. I am glad to hear this. The statistics are overwhelming.

  6. I heard on the radio that the HIV epidemic is officially on the wane – but perhaps that only refers to Western countries. In any case it seems ironic but inevitably that governments only act when the worst of the crisis has passed. I guess it is better to do something at any point than to do nothing, but still. I hope someone, somewhere, is learning from all this for the future.

  7. I too felt very strongly that the plight of these children should be highlighted. Thank you for this post. These children need to be given a voice.

  8. One wonders why, why were they sooooo slow to act? That’s what I don’t understand. These terrible figures have been openly discussed for years – it’s not like it’s ever been a secret. You have to wonder about the sheer number of people who’ve been infected, and those who’ve died as a result, while the government was busy dragging its heels. It just beggars belief, it really does.

  9. Good news indeed. Not reported much in this country because we have been all agog over the news from Uganda about their new proposed legislation mandating the execution of all homosexuals, plus people who have AIDS, and imprisonment of people who know of homosexuals and do not turn them in. What a sad day for human rights if that legislation passes. The fact that it was even introduced is sad.

  10. Pingback: World AIDS Day: Some Things I Found « Charlotte's Web

  11. Dr oko brought a smile to my face when all hope was lost, when i thought that no body can help me cure my sickness.if i will ever praise someone in this life i will forever praise God and Dr Oko for the wonderful work they done in my life. i want to use use this medium to prove those that say there is not a cure for hiv i want to say i was tested hiv positive last 2 years ago went i went to free hiv test by govt and i have been trying to get a cure from different doctors and but i still remain positive, but now i wan t to say that i am hiv negative by the medicine of this great herbalist called Dr Oko when i went for a check up two days ago. please contact Dr OKo on his email: he is the one that can only cure your sickness because he has cured mine. truly there is a solution home to all problems.once more i say a very big thanks to you for saving my life.

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