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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

HIV is still a big threat in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry the greatest burden of HIV infections in the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry the greatest burden of HIV infections in the world and instead of abating, the problem was getting worse.

But Africa itself is participating in global efforts to end the threat of HIV to public health internationally via donations to the existing global fund that was initiated early this year. The global fund is replenished every three years and France was the first host of the campaign followed by Canada and now the US.

US Global Aids coordinator and special representative for health diplomacy Dr John Nkengasong told media in Pretoria yesterday that HIV/Aids was still a big threat to people of the continent in particular. Nkengasong, former director the African Centre for Diseases Control, was confirmed by the US Senate for his new position on 5 May and officially sworn in on 13 June.

In commemoration of Women’s Day, Nkengasong spoke about the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, Aids-free, Mentored, and Safe (Dreams) programme, which is a global partnership through the US.

The President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief aims to reduce HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women, by not only addressing HIV as a health issue but also confronting the structural drivers that increase HIV risk for adolescent girls and young women, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence and lack of access to education and economic empowerment.

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“Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be attacked by HIV/ Aids. “In at least 38 countries, infections have increased while it had stabilised in certain countries. “Africa continues to carry the greatest burden, the decline is not as steep as we expected,” Nkengasong said.

Nkengasong announced that US President Joe Biden will host a gathering of various partner countries in September to raise $18 billion (about R298 billion) as part of the global fund replenishment for HIV and tuberculosis. The campaign to raise the funds was launched in February and it was hoped next month’s gathering would meet the target.

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