The role of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and civil society in assisting government in the fight against HIV/AIDS is critical and is already yielding results in so far as statistics of HIV related deaths and new infections are concerned.
This is the core of the message by the MEC of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs, Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube and Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo, who addressed hundreds of residents from the INK area at a World Aids Day event that was hosted by eThekwini Municipality at the JL Dube Stadium in Inanda on Sunday, 01/12/2013.

Dube said it is everyone’s responsibility to fight AIDS; “The KwaZulu Natal Government has made great strides in improving access to Anti-retroviral treatment and in reducing new HIV infections. The overall HIV prevalence among 15-24 years old has dropped from 31% to 25.5% in the past year. We are happy to announce that life expectancy has risen to 60 years and that the downward trend in maternal mortality is encouraging. There is no cure for the disease, the antiretroviral treatment is the only solution we know thus far,” said Dube.
Mayor Nxumalo said it is encouraging that more and more people are getting tested and are taking responsible action for their health and wellbeing.

“In the past ten years we have witnessed a decrease in mother to child transmissions by a sizeable margin. We acknowledge that there is still a lot to be done in order to ensure an HIV free generation but we are also happy at the improvements that we are witnessing. It is still a cause for concern that some 40 000 people still contract HIV every year in eThekwini, this number should be zero. We want to see zero new infections and zero HIV related deaths because treatment is available freely at all our clinics and other public health facilities,” added Nxumalo.

Nxumalo went on to mention that people should get tested and know their status in order to be able to make sound decisions about their lives. “The ABC of HIV/AIDS (Abstain, Be faithful and Condomise) still stands and is our only hope for an HIV free generation,” he said.
Prior to the main event, Nxumalo led a delegation of officials and Councillors to visit the Ward 57 War Room where he donated Wheelchairs, crutches, walking sticks and food parcels to local residents. More wheelchairs and groceries were handed over to the people that attended the main event at the stadium. “As a caring Municipality, we will not turn a blind eye on the glaring needs of our people. This is not politics, this is community upliftment and we are not afraid to extend our support to communities for the fear of being labelled as political opportunists,” concluded Nxumalo.
  
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit. For more information contact Municipal Spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng on 031 311 4820 or 0827317456 or e-mail thabo1.mofokeng@durban.gov.za or Aphelele Ntumbu on 084 7103663 or email aphelele.ntumbu@durban.gov.za