Debate On World Aids Day
Remarks By Ms Hilda Msweli MP


National Assembly:  24 November 2011


Honourable Speaker,


I would like to dedicate my speech to all those who have passed away from HIV/AIDS and TB related illnesses. Furthermore, I salute all those that are infected and affected by the viruses. 


Mr Speaker, AIDS is a story often told by numbers. 40 million infected with HIV. Nearly 4.5 million this year alone. 12 million orphans in Africa. 8,000 deaths and 6,000 new infections every single day. In some places, 90% of those with HIV do not know they have it. And we just learned that AIDS is set to become the 3rd leading cause of death worldwide in the coming years.


They are staggering, these numbers, and they help us understand the magnitude of this pandemic. But when repeated by themselves, statistics can also numb - they can hide the individual stories and tragedies. 


As we remember those infected and affected, we as leaders need to be re-energized to show political support and ensure that we do the right thing! Not just words, not just symbolism but action. We should work with drug companies to reduce the costs of generic anti-retroviral drugs, and work with developing nations to help them build the health infrastructure that's necessary to get sick people treated - this means more money for hospitals and medical equipment, and more training for nurses and doctors.


We need a renewed emphasis on nutrition. Right now we're finding out that there are people who are on the drugs, who are getting treatment, who are still dying because they don't have any food to eat. This is inexcusable - especially in countries that have sufficient food supplies.


Honourable Speaker the Inkatha Freedom Party supports all efforts to reduce and eradicate the scourge of HIV and tuberculosis from our land and continent.


People must come forward and be tested. The time for silence is over.  We need to deal with HIV Aids and TB like any other illnesses. Let us take our cue from the President of the IFP, let us rise up, remove the veil and be truthful to ourselves. 


I thank you.


Contact: Ms Hilda Msweli MP, 072 513 1833.