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The Need for Vision to Deal with HIV/AIDS

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Zackie Achmat has one wish as people mark World Aids Day this year. He wants them to think of the need for a long term vision to deal with the virus.

Achmat, who's often called South Africa's most influential AIDS activist, has firsthand knowledge about the subject - he has the virus.

In 1998, he co-founded Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in South Africa with the aim of ensuring access to affordable treatment for people with HIV/AIDS, preventing new infections and improving health care access for all.

Achmat publicly refused to take AIDS medications until all who needed them had access to them. Finally, after pressure from many sectors, he began therapy - a move which he says dramatically improved the quality of his life and offered him the hope of living "20 or 30 more years."

For the future, Achmat says the prices of drugs have to be brought down to ensure more people have access to medication. He also says health systems need to be strengthened and more power should be given to nursing staff to care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Watch Zackie Achmat as he explains what people should be thinking of as they mark World Aids Day this year.




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