S.Africa marks AIDS day with record ribbon

December 2, 2012

South Africa, home to the world's largest HIV caseload, on Saturday unveiled a 1.5 kilometre AIDS ribbon in Johannesburg, with activists and officials pledging to curb the epidemic.

Created from over 6,000 red T-shirts pinned together, the ribbon was rolled out at Constitution Hill, which houses the country's Constitutional Court, and unfurled through the streets of Braamfontein.

The ribbon, beating a record previously held by India, is seen as a "visual symbol of the country's commitment to eradicating HIV/AIDS" in a country where six of the 51.8 million inhabitants live with the virus.

"Because of this event we are going to get more awareness," said one of the organisers, Amanda Blankfield of Afrika Tikkun, a health and education NGO.

Organisers of the AIDS event will submit to the for verification.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said South Africa was on the right path.

"I can confidently say that the journey towards an AIDS-free world has begun, and South Africa is definitely on the right path," he said in a speech marking World AIDS Day in the northwestern town of Potchefstroom.

Despite being home to the world's largest population of people living with HIV and its biggest consumer of anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, about a fifth of the world market, South Africa is still battling with stigma around the disease.

"The murder of gay men and lesbians, acts of violence such as so-called 'corrective rapes' are a violation of the rights of others and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms," Motlanthe said.

On Thursday Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced South Africa had used its massive market share to negotiate a record-low price on a three-in-one, fixed-dose , to be rolled out in April next year.

The once-a-day tablet will cost patients 89.37 rand a month ($10, eight euros), the world's lowest ever for the regimen.

The government plans to expand the treatment to reach 2.5 million people in the next two years.

South Africa once refused to roll out ARVs under former president Thabo Mbeki, whom activists have condemned as an " denialist".

Explore further: South Africa unveils plan to halve HIV infections

Related Stories

South Africa unveils plan to halve HIV infections

December 1, 2011

President Jacob Zuma on Thursday unveiled a plan to halve the number of HIV infections over the next five years, cementing South Africa's turnaround from years of deadly denialism.

UN sees 'massive' fall in South Africa AIDS cases

January 19, 2012

South Africa, home to the highest number of HIV cases in the world, should see a massive reduction by the end of the decade after a sea-change in government policy, a UNAIDS official said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Videos reveal how HIV spreads in real time

October 2, 2015

How retroviruses like HIV spread in their hosts had been unknown—until a Yale team devised a way to watch it actually happen in a living organism. The elaborate and sometimes surprising steps the virus takes to reach and ...

Researchers find proteins that shut down HIV-1

September 30, 2015

A pair of studies by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the University of Trento in Italy, and the University of Geneva in Switzerland, point to a promising new anti-retroviral strategy for combating ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.