JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Young people should be at the forefront of combating the spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa, said Deputy President David Mabuza at the 30th World Aids Day commemoration in Soweto, Johannesburg on Saturday.
While South Africa has made huge strides in fighting the disease in the past decade, Mabuza said young people's improved involvement is necessary to eradicate AIDS.
"We are looking to our young people to play a leading role in this struggle as capable and dynamic agents of change. We look to them and to their energy to be revolutionary ambassadors across society, ambassadors that advance awareness about how to prevent TB and stop TB and AIDS related deaths." he said.
With UNAIDS statistics show that almost 2,000 young women and adolescents girls are infected with HIV in South Africa weekly, Mabuza said special attention must be paid to this age group.
"Going forward, our focus should be on young people and men. It is young people, especially those between 15 and 24 years and men that are not testing for HIV and those not being initiated on antiretroviral drugs (ARV)," Mabuza added.
South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV and the largest treatment campaign in the world. To date, the country had initiated 4.3 million South Africans on ARV treatment in the public sector, with an additional 235,000 in the private sector.
Mabuza revealed that 11 million people have been tested for HIV in the past year. The government seeks to get 14 million people tested for both TB and Aids and more than six million initiated on ARV treatment by 2020.
"The day calls on us to take preventive measures as a first stance in tackling this pandemic," he noted.
Mabuza said that a functioning public health care system is key in tackling the diseases.
"No more people must be deprived of treatment and life saving because of race and social standing. We are committed to rooting out inefficiency, laxity and dysfunction from our health system. We can," he promised.