In his Monday morning letter to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa focussed on the commemoration of World Aids Day on 1 December, and the progress the country has made over the last decade…


“Ultimately, we will achieve the end of AIDS through the empowerment of young people, women and other people at risk.” – President Cyril Ramaphosa

Read the full letter from the President HERE.


While the country can celebrate a number of milestones in the fight against HIV and AIDS in SA, there are still many challenges ahead.

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The President highlighted the following positive achievements:

  • Over the last decade we made progress in reducing the number of new HIV infections in the population by nearly 60%.
  • HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women have significantly declined in the last decade. This is a crucial group because they are much more likely to be at risk of getting HIV.
  • Our treatment programme has contributed to a reduction in the number of deaths due to AIDS by 60%.
  • There has been a greater reduction in HIV-related deaths among young people.

However, despite these achievements, South Africa continues to have the largest number of people living with HIV in the world.

“While we have reduced deaths and new infections, we still are far from reaching the goal we committed ourselves in 2016 of achieving a 75% reduction in HIV infections by 2020,” said the President. “If we succeed in doing so, we are likely to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”

The President said it was important to end the stigma around HIV and AIDS in vulnerable communities, and to combine medical breakthroughs with fundamental changes in behaviour.

“We also need to tackle the economic and social conditions that contribute to high rates of infection.”

Empowering young women

“One of our central tasks is to empower adolescent girls and young women, educationally, economically and socially,” wrote the President. “They need to be able to make their own decisions about every aspect of their lives, including their sexuality and sexual behaviour.”

“Ultimately, we will achieve the end of AIDS through the empowerment of young people, women and other people at risk.”

What does empowerment mean?

  • Access to information, advice and support
  • Access to education and economic opportunities, especially for young women
  • Access to testing, treatment and other health services

“On this World AIDS Day, which is taking place in the shadow of another devastating pandemic, let us intensify both our resolve and our actions to confront and overcome AIDS once and for all.”

Read the full letter from the President HERE.


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