World AIDS Day statement by the UDM President (01 December 2008)

We join the rest of South Africa and the world in commemorating World AIDS Day. The UDM believes that it is long-overdue for this country to look at the HIV/AIDS response models which have worked in other countries, such as Uganda and Brazil.

The success stories of other nations in the fight against this pandemic amply demonstrate that coordinated society-wide participation in the campaign is the difference between life and death. It is the responsibility of every citizen to be informed and aware about the disease and its implications. It should not be left to politicians only, because that creates the danger of politicising the matter, an experience we saw with the ANC who tended to think that they knew better than anybody else and refused to listen to the people who live with the disease and the medical specialists who have dedicated their lives to treating them.

It is necessary for us to increase public awareness campaigns, advertising, and community meetings on HIV/AIDS.

The UDM calls on Government to print a simple and concise unified AIDS information sheet for distribution to households, schools, workplaces, churches and the like; to ensure that we lay to rest all the myths and stop the contradictory messages that have been festering for years due to incompetent political management.