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Committee: World Health Organisation

Topic: Measures to tackle the AIDS pandemic in South Africa


Student Officer: Ilyssa Jace
Position: Co-chair
Student Officer Profile
My name is Ilyssa Jace and Im a first year law student at Brickfields Asia
College. I have been actively involved in Model UN for the past year with
SelangorMUN 2016 being my 12th conference. With Model UN being one of
the few things that Im particularly passionate about as it allows me to
engage in pressing world issues to potentially make the world a better
place, I am entirely grateful for venturing into an activity that has not only
shaped me into the person I am today but also propelled me onto a bigger
platform of self-development. And Im truly lucky to have the distinct
privilege of serving as your co-chair for the duration of this conference.
I look forward to guiding you through the WHO alongside Bryan and
Ishaal , and I am eager to spend my weekend with each and every one of
you where you will (hopefully) be inspired to be the change of our
generation.
Should you have any enquiries, feel free to forward them to me through
Facebook or email at www.facebook.com/IlyssaJace and
ilyssajace@gmail.com respectively. Good luck and see you soon!
Overview of Topic
South Africa has been in an AIDS/HIV crisis where this issue is seen to be a
prominent health concern as the number of patients diagnosed with AIDS
tracked one of the highest in the world. This point was further reiterated in
a recent survey by UNAIDS to suggest that estimated 5,700,000 South
Africans had AIDS. However, the main qualm that exists within the
pandemic would be the lack of any form of antiretroviral therapy (ART)
due to the economic, political and demography of the state which resulted
to more than 48% of deaths in South Africa being attributed to AIDS.
The problem can be found in different levels of society within South Africa,
and it can be segregated by various segments such as but not limited to;
race, gender, age, province.
Definition of Key Terms

Antiretroviral therapy - Standard antiretroviral therapy consists of the


combination of antiretroviral drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus
and stop the progression of HIV disease.1
HIV The human immunodeficiency virus that can (and most of the time
WILL) lead to AIDS.
AIDS - Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV
infection.
History of the Problem
1980s

Two South African patients were


diagnosed with AIDS for the
first time in their history.
The South African government
established an AIDS Advisory
Group in 1985 due to the rise of
AIDS cases.
The World Health Organisation
held its first meeting to assess
the global AIDS situation and
began international
surveillance.
The WHO launched The Global
Program on AIDS to raise
awareness on the issue, to
generate evidence-based
policies and to provide
technical and financial support
to countries which are affected
by the disease. This
programme also incorporates
research and to include and
promote participation by NGOs
as well as encourage inclusivity
amongst AIDS patients.

1 World Health Organization. (2016). Treatment and care. Available at:


http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/treatment/en/

1990s

2 National Antenatal Survey1990

It was estimated that there


were between 74,000 and
6,500,135 people in South
Africa living with HIV.2
Over the course of the decade,
the numbers significantly
increased (doubled and tripled
by the end of the decade).
Efforts such as public
awareness through musicals
(Sarafina, but was
subsequently shelved),
conferences (International
Conference for People Living
with HIV and AIDS), campaigns
(AIDS Awareness Campaign
that was incorporated in the
football club & the loveLife
campaign) and a special
council (National AIDS Council)
were made in order to curb the
issue.
The Joint United Nations
Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS)
was established to advocate for
global action on the pandemic
and to coordinate AIDS efforts
across the UN.
The WHO announced that AIDS
was the fourth biggest cause of
death worldwide and number
one killer in South Africa.

2000s

The contention within this


time period was based on the
denialism of the pandemic by
the very own President and
executive body of the nation
who suggested that HIV is not
the substantial and operative
cause of AIDS and believed that
comprehensive treatment from
the anti-retroviral drugs can be
achieved upon understanding
that HIV is not the sole cause of
AIDS.
The Health Ministry was
hesitant and in denial about
providing anti-retroviral drugs
to patients living with HIV and
even suggested traditional and
farce methods of relief for the
issue that proved to be
ineffective and led to the
increase in numbers of
fatalities.

Problem in Status Quo


Inherently, it was said that the questionable quality of condoms which are
distributed is an impediment to these efforts made by NGOs and the
Government. Government surveys also revealed that more than 20 million
locally manufactured condoms which were flawed. Furthermore, some of
the contraceptive methods and tools given out failed the water test
conducted by the Treatment Action Campaign, which then proved that all
the contraceptive and preventative measures of the virus was ineffective
in essence.
It is also believed that due to the influx of patients suffering with HIV/AIDS,
the economical market of the country has also been affected. There are
two major economic and social security challenges facing South Africa:
addressing large-scale unemployment and the AIDS pandemic. Addressing
AIDS and unemployment poses major challenges for social solidarity in
South Africa. Over the past decade, the labour-market and industrialpolicy environment has benefited relatively high-productivity firms and
sectors. Businesses thus had strong incentives to reduce dependence on
unskilled labour, and once the price of highly active antiretroviral therapy

started to fall from 2001 onwards, to supply it, either directly or indirectly
through medical aids, to their increasingly skilled workforce. Those
without jobs had neither access to earned income nor life-prolonging
medication.

The table above described the economical impacts of the pandemic upon
the country.3
Two main issues within the problem revolve around the rape culture as
well as social stigma revolving around AIDS. The rape culture is one that
portrayed rape as a norm as well as misinformed believes such as but not
limited to; the virgin-cleansing myth and raping of certain ethnic groups to
be immune from the virus. As far as social stigma is concerned, the main
qualm is inherent with the belief that those suffering from AIDS are dirty,
repulsive, cursed, and foolish and should have restrictions on their
freedom, be isolated, and feel guilty and ashamed. This stigma would
then cause the patients to be subject to abuse and abandonment, even by
their own family.
The lack of use of protection such as the condom also contributed
significantly to the problem in status quo. Studies suggest that fear of
sexual abuse, which results from unequal power dynamics between men
and women and the farce image of the patriarchy in South African
townships, is the primary explanation for low condom use rates. In this
view, the rate of sexual violence and abuse is inherent and increasing
within the community.
3 Arndt, C. (2001). THE HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC IN SOUTH AFRICA: SECTORAL
IMPACTS AND UNEMPLOYMENT. [online] Available at:
https://www.gtap.agecon.purdue.edu/resources/download/361.pdf

Resource Bank
1. https://www.census.gov/population/international/files/hiv/southafrica
08.pdf
Statistics and surveys conducted upon the South African AIDS
pandemic
2. https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/sub-saharanafrica/south-africa
Overview of the situation in South Africa which highlights both
barriers as well as harms of the issue.
3. http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/preventiontreatment-hivaidssouth-africa
Inputs to remedy the situation.
Delegate Research Task
1. What are the barriers to the pandemic that South Africa is facing?
2. Understanding the social and political standpoint of the country,
what inputs can be made to reduce the social stigma that is
inherent?
3. What efforts can be taken to ensure that the antiretroviral drugs are
readily available in the country?
4. What is the difference between HIV and AIDS, and what are the
overlaps?
5. HIV prevention initiatives are having a significant impact on motherto-child transmission rates in particular, which are falling
dramatically. However, what policies can be adopted to curb the
problem to reach a negative?
6. While the short term financing of South Africa's HIV epidemic is
secure, in the longer term, the government needs to explore other
strategies. As such, what long-term strategy can be taken to sustain
the current decline of the pandemic?
Foreign Policy Statement
1. Regarding the topic, what approaches, policies and solutions does
your country support? Please provide clear and detailed
explanations of the policies.

2. What will be your key challenges in implementing the policies


outlined above on a global level? Please explain implementation
challenges as well as possible opposition from other countries and
organisations.
3. What policies does your county oppose? Why and how will you seek
to prevent and reason against the implementation of these policies
in committee?
4. How do you think the council can come to a compromise to solve
this problem?