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Keep HIV on South Africa’s Agenda!

Categories: HEADLINES, HIV/AIDS
Public Panel on the Reinstatement of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on HIV & AIDS
We, as South African civil society organisations, renew our demand that the Joint Committee on HIV & AIDS (JCHIV) be reinstated, and we request the participation of all South Africans to join us in a Public Panel Discussion at St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, on 25 August 09:30 – 12:00. We invite individuals and other civil society formations to attend.

The JCHIV, initially set up in 2012 to focus on the HIV and AIDS pandemic in South Africa and how its spread could be prevented, was disbanded in 2014 and repeated requests to have it reinstated have been ignored.

Despite the announcement of most other committees in South Africa's Parliament, the Joint Committee on HIV & AIDS (JCHIV) has still not been instituted, and this is a matter of critical national importance.

Why is this a matter of critical importance?

An estimated 6.4 million of 52.9 million South Africans have HIV – and numbers of those affected are rising. According to the Human Sciences Reseach Council (HSRC) National HIV Survey of 2014, 12.2% of South Africa’s population – or 36% of females between ages 30 and 34 and 28.8% of males between ages 35 to 39 – are HIV-positive.

We need to keep HIV on the agenda!

South Africa cannot afford to lose the ground that has been gained. We need to upscale our commitment and response. With over 1.2 million new infections since 2008, the imperative of the committee is no less urgent today than when the JCHIV was formed.

“Silence on this matter indicates an apparent lack of accountability, political will and leadership,” says Phillipa Tucker, Co-Founder of AIDS Accountability International, an independent research and advocacy think tank which strives to ensure that there is strong and accountable leadership at all levels of society to promote effective responses to health challenges.

The South African Joint Parliamentary Committee on HIV was formed to monitor and evaluate the implementation of government’s HIV and AIDS strategy, policy and programmes; examine and evaluate existing and proposed HIV-related legislation, policies and budgetary allocations; and ensure that HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment remain as priorities on the national agenda.

Come and join respected South African civil society organisations in a Public Panel Discussion calling for the reinstatement of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on HIV and AIDS, at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on 25 August 2015, from 09:30 – 12:00. Entry is free and refreshments will be served.

Panelists include:

  • Daniel Molokele, Executive Director of AIDS Accountability International
    Moderator
  • Nombasa Gxuluwe, Programme Officer for World AIDS Campaign International
    Importance of JCHIV for civil society
  • Ntando Yola, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
    Civil society progress and activities to date in calling for the reinstatement of the JCHIV
  • Bafana Khumalo, Senior Programme Specialist and Co-Founder of Sonke Gender Justice
    Discussing the JCHIV from the SANAC perspective
  • Advocate Paul Hoffman, Director and Head of Projects for the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa
    Legal perspective of the JCHIV
  • Mmapaseka Steve Letsike, Deputy Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council
    SANAC perspective of the JCHIV 

Civil society groups calling for the reinstatement of the Joint Committee on HIV and AIDS:[Note 1]

  1. Access Chapter 2
  2. African Men for Sexual Health and Rights
  3. AIDS Accountability International
  4. AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa
  5. AIDS Healthcare Foundation South Africa
  6. Coalition of African Lesbians
  7. Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
  8. Doctors Without Borders
  9. Grassroot Soccer South Africa
  10. International HIV/AIDS Alliance
  11. National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS
  12. Network of East African AIDS Service Organisations
  13. Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa
  14. Networking HIV/AIDS Community of South Africa
  15. Pan African Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS
  16. Pan African Treatment Access Movement
  17. Positive Women's Network
  18. Section 27
  19. Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)
  20. Sonke Gender Justice
  21. Southern African AIDS Information Dissemination Services
  22. Southern Africa AIDS Trust
  23. Southern African HIV Clinicians Association
  24. South African National AIDS Council (Civil Society Forum)
  25. TB/HIV Care Association
  26. Treatment Action Campaign
  27. Wellness Foundation
  28. World AIDS Campaign International

[Note 1] Civil society letters: http://www.genderjustice.org.za/policy-development-advocacy/jointcommittee-hiv-aids/

 

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