SA determined to bring an end to Covid-19 and AIDS, says Health Minister

Johannesburg- Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, says South Africa is working tirelessly to tackle both HIV and the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

“The two struggles are now twins and we’re working to defeat both of them,” he said on Wednesday during the World Aids Day commemoration event in Limpopo.

“HIV and SARS-CoV-2 are both viruses. They only differ in terms of the speed with which they move. HIV moves very slow and doesn’t let you know quickly that it is in your blood.”

This is contrary to SARS-CoV-2 that he described as “quick” and “very acute”.

“You get it today, within three to four days you’re down. If you’re not lucky, within two weeks, you’re already down six feet. So this is the difference, but it’s one struggle.”

However, he said both of these viruses are preventable.

“There are methods of what we call the personal health safety measures which we need to do in terms of fighting these two viruses. I know we have to sanitise these days, but I hope you still remember the ABC [approach].”

The Minister has urged the public to adopt the ABC strategy – abstain, be faithful and condomise to bring the HIV and AIDS epidemic under control.

“And for us as men, we must circumcise,” he added.

Shifting his focus on COVID-19, he called on the attendees to wear masks, social distance, sanitise and wash hands, and gather in ventilated spaces.

“Unfortunately, on the HIV side, our scientists have been working hard but they haven’t been able to find the vaccine. However, with COVID-19, we are lucky that within a few months, scientists were able to find various vaccines, which we can use to protect ourselves against this disease.”

He described the vaccines as an important tool for the country to fight the spread of the Coronavirus.

“We need to work together to end inequalities and also AIDS, TB and COVID-19.”


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