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“The evidence of what we need to do in order to turn the tide of the epidemic is mounting,” Dr. Gilles van Cutsem, Medecins Sans Frontieres’s medical coordinator for South Africa and Lesotho, said in a statement. “But just as we’re seeing the promise of the latest treatment recommendations, the money donors are allocating … is stagnating.”

Motsoaledi, the health minister, said his government wants to keep paying 80 percent of its AIDS bill, an important commitment because it means more donor money will be available for countries in even direr need. While South Africa has the most HIV-positive people, other, poorer countries, including neighbors like Swaziland, are more burdened because a higher percentage of their citizens are HIV-positive.

A World AIDS Day report by the Washington-based Institute of Medicine said the costs of treating AIDS in Africa are “not sustainable for the foreseeable future.” It said stopping new infections must be a priority.

That is Motsoaledi’s approach. He calls, for example, for ensuring more pregnant women know whether they are HIV-positive, so that those that are can receive drugs that will keep their babies from contracting AIDS.

“We believe no child ought to be born HIV-positive,” he said.

He also is stepping up condom distribution and male circumcision. Circumcision, in conjunction with using condoms and remaining faithful to one partner, has been shown to cut the risk of contracting the AIDS virus by as much as 60 percent.

“We have made strides, very important strides,” Motsoaledi said. “We need to keep on increasing our momentum.”


Associated Press writer Michelle Faul contributed to this report from Johannesburg.