The next phase of the response to the AIDS epidemic in South Africa is to build on the successes in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, and to expand programmes to confront the disease effectively in the coming years.

This is according to the National Treasury’s Intergovernmental Fiscal Review, which points out that there has been close interaction between the Department of Health and National Treasury recently to ensure that programmes are expanded.

In a number of areas, such as condom provision, life-skills provision and voluntary counseling and testing, substantial capacity has been put in place over the last couple of years, the Review says.

“Given the close and complex relationships between HIV/AIDS and other diseases, such as tuberculosis, and the links between HIV/AIDS and poverty, an enhanced response cannot be implemented in isolation from these factors and concerns.”

The Review is clear that HIV/AIDS will impact dramatically on poverty and household vulnerability in South Africa, especially the need to care for orphans under 15 years of age who have lost their mothers due to AIDS.

According to the Review, current estimates are that the number of AIDS orphans will increase from 150 000 last year to more than 2 million in 2010.

“Institutional care for these children will be expensive and alternative care mechanisms will have to be established. While home-and community-based care are being piloted, significant state support will be required to ensure the burden does not fall disproportionately on the poor,” the Review cautioned.

The current child support grant provides a means for the state to support certain poor children, including those affected by HIV/AIDS.

However, the current age limits as well as the grant amounts limit the state’s supportive role and other means of support for orphans would have to be developed, the Review said.

According to the Review, Social Development departments received allocations from the central allocation for poverty relief. This supported a range of income-generating activities to fight poverty directly and strengthen the focus on developmental social welfare.

The Department of Social Welfare also channels a portion of the special allocation for the integrated HIV/AIDS plan to provinces to support the development of models of home-and community-based care.
– Health-e News Service