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South African official calls for addressing HIV-related inequalities

The theme of inequality for World AIDS Day this year was a wake-up call to address disparities that made it challenging for South Africa to eradicate AIDS, the country’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla said Thursday.

More than 8 million people are living with HIV and more than 5 million receiving anti-retroviral therapy in the country, Phaahla said when addressing an event commemorating World AIDS Day.

“Low-income households that are situated in the poorest and most marginalized areas of our cities, small towns, and rural villages constitute the majority of those affected,” he said.

Socioeconomic issues like poverty, exclusion, and inadequate access to services, particularly for vulnerable populations like transgender people and sex workers, were key drivers of the inequality, according to the minister.

Concerted attention is required right now considering the worrisome and significant growth in the number of young people in South Africa who continue to endure high rates of new HIV infections, he said. Enditem

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