President of South Africa and UNAIDS Executive Director discuss HIV and the Ebola outbreak
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé met with the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, on 4 September at the President’s official residence in Pretoria, South Africa. During the meeting, Mr Sidibé congratulated the President on his re-election and praised the government’s leadership in the country’s HIV response.
Mr Sidibé called on President Zuma to support countries affected by western Africa’s current Ebola virus outbreak. The lack of a locally produced serum to respond to Ebola illustrates the need for African research and drug production for this and other diseases affecting the continent, including HIV.
President Zuma and Mr Sidibé agreed that the local production of antiretroviral medicines is critical, as of the 35 million people living with HIV worldwide, 24.9 million live in Africa. South Africa can lead the way and play a critical role in ensuring that all countries have access to cheaper generic drugs.
Mr Sidibé also made a plea to President Zuma to address HIV prevention among populations at higher risk of HIV infection in South Africa, including sex workers and young people, particularly young women and girls.
“UNAIDS has always provided useful support in our AIDS response. It is always encouraging and refreshing to see the new guidance and strategic approaches, which South Africa has adopted.”
Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa
“Under President Zuma’s leadership we can actively engage pharmaceutical companies to make sure that African people have access to next generation drugs and escalate local production of antiretroviral medicines.”
Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director