South Africa targets screening whole population for AIDS

A nurse takes a blood sample in a mobile clinic set up to test students for HIV in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa on March 8, 2011South Africa's government plans to extend AIDS tests to the country's entire population and speed up antiretroviral treatment of those who test positive for the virus, the health minister said Wednesday. "We come from very far in the past five years," Aaron Motsoaledi told parliament. With 6.4 million people infected with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS, South Africa has the largest seropositive population in the world, but also the largest programme to treat them. After a recent spike in AIDS infections, the country aims to eradicate the virus by 2030, a goal echoing guidelines adopted by the world AIDS conference in Melbourne this week.

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