South Africa has welcomed a decision by the US government to increase funding for the country’s HIV programme via the President`s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
This follows negotiations between the Department of Health and PEPFAR in Washington DC in April this year after the US signalled that they were considering reducing funding for the next funding cycle which commences in October 2019.
During discussions, the DoH was able to convince the PEPFAR leadership that the government is committed to initiating an additional 2 million people living with HIV on treatment by December 2020 as announced by President Ramaphosa during the 2018 State of the Nation Address.
Having at least 6.1 million people on treatment and virally suppressed by December 2020 will enable South Africa to move towards epidemic control.
The US government is one of the biggest international HIV/AIDS donors and has providing support to the country`s HIV programme since 2004 through PEPFAR. According to Dr Yogan Pillay, Deputy Director General for Health Programmes, these successful discussions have resulted in an agreement that the Department will work with PEPFAR to develop a detailed proposal that will assist the Department to increase the number of people living with HIV on treatment and to ensure that they remain on treatment.
“Whilst the proposed total funding envelope is yet to be approved by the US Congress, there is every indication that there will be an increase in PEPFAR funding to South Africa to support our HIV response”, said Pillay.
The Department of Health wishes to thank the US for their continued support that will enable South Africa to move towards epidemic control. Meanwhile, the Department urges all South Africans to know their health status by testing regularly for HIV, and if positive to start treatment immediately to ensure that they are virally suppressed and healthy.