The South African government welcomed the US government's decision to increase funding for the country's HIV program through the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program.
This follows negotiations between the Department of Health (DOH) and PEPFAR in Washington DC in April this year after the US signaled they were considering reducing funding for the next funding cycle, which begins in October 2019.
During the discussions, DOH was able to convince the leadership of PEPFAR that the government is committed to initiate another two million people with HIV in treatment by December 2020, as announced by President Ramaphosa during the State of the Union address of 2018.
Having at least 6.1 million people in treatment and being virally repressed by December 2020 will allow South Africa to move forward to control the epidemic.
The US government is one of the largest international donors of HIV / AIDS and has supported the country's HIV program since 2004 through PEPFAR.
According to DOH Deputy Director General for Health Programs, Yogan Pillay, these successful discussions resulted in an agreement that the department will work with PEPFAR to develop a detailed proposal that will help the department increase the number of people with HIV in treatment and to ensure that they remain in treatment.
"While the proposed total funding envelope has not yet been approved by the US Congress, there is every indication that there will be an increase in PEPFAR funding for South Africa to support our response to HIV," Pillay said.
The department thanked the US for its continued support, which will allow South Africa to move forward to control the epidemic.
Meanwhile, the department urged all South Africans to know their health by regularly testing HIV and, if it was positive, to start treatment immediately to ensure they were suppressed by viruses and healthy.