TAC Newsletter - 7 April 2003

Call for a Community Day of Action for an HIV/AIDS Treatment Plan - 16 April 2003

Every day more than 600 people in South Africa die of HIV/AIDS related illnesses. Many lives could be saved if our government had the will to develop and implement an HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention plan that includes antiretroviral treatment for people who need it. 16 April 2003 marks the 365th dat since the Cabinet Statement on HIV/AIDS that gave all of us hope that government policy on HIV/AIDS had finally changed. Unfortunately the past 12 months have seen very little progress on the issue of treatment or the implementation of a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.

Nearly all of us experience the effects of the epidemic. Many of us live with HIV or know friends, family or colleagues who are sick or dying of AIDS.

We are calling for a community day of action to respond to the epidemic. On 16 April let us stand together in solidarity to urge government to implement an HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention plan. This must include target and dates for the implementation of:

Help organise:

INVEST IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR!

IMPLEMENT AN HIV/AIDS TREATMENT AND PREVENTION PLAN!


Call for International Day of Action for a South African HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention Plan - 24 April 2003

Dear Friend

Please find enclosed the TAC call for international day of action and a sample letter. Please distribute widely.

Regards

Zackie


Dear TAC supporter,

CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FOR A SOUTH AFRICAN HIV/AIDS TREATMENT AND PREVENTION PLAN - 24 APRIL 2003

PICKET, WRITE LETTERS AND CHALLENGE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ALL OVER THE WORLD TO IMPLEMENT A TREATMENT AND PREVENTION PLAN, INCLUDING ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY

Over 600 South Africans die of HIV/AIDS every day. Many more die throughout the developing world. This does not have to be. In wealthy countries and Brazil, people with HIV/AIDS are living longer, healthier lives because they have access to life-saving medicines.

We need your solidarity and help. As you may know, the Treatment Action Campaign has been waging a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience in protest of the South African government's negligence in the matter of providing treatment to South Africans living with HIV/AIDS. TAC's decision to turn to civil disobedience has come after four years of discussions, debates, negotiations, providing research to government, pickets, marches,court cases and numerous other attempts at using the democratic instruments of the new South Africa. However, although some progress has been made, the South African government remains intransigent, especially over the issue of making antiretroviral treatment more accessible, but also with regard to the general improvement of the public health sector.

By pressurising the South African government to implement a treatment plan, we believe the path to treatment in many other poor countries, especially in Southern Africa, will become more feasible. The focus of attention will shift onto the responsibility of the international community to fund treatment programmes and the experience of the South African situation will be of benefit to other countries.

A detailed explanation of why we are turning to civil disobedience campaign is contained in the document "Dying for Treatment".

As part of this campaign we are planning a Day of International Action to demonstrate that the world supports the struggle of South Africans for universal access to treatment. The Day of International Action is scheduled for 24 April.

We are hoping that our international friends and allies will help us in this effort by organizing demonstrations of support in their countries, such as protests at South African embassies, consulates, and delegations. To find out where your nearest South African representative is, go to http://www.dfa.gov.za/sa-abroad/sashort.htm.

We also encourage protests and hard-hitting question and answer sessions to be organised for South African ministers and government representatives visiting foreign countries.

If a public protest is not feasible, requesting a meeting with a local South African official to voice your concern is another option. We also encourage you to show your support in other ways, such as sending letters, faxes, and/or email to South African officials. We are attaching a sample letter with the relevant addresses. Please copy letters to the South African media and the media in your country.

Let us hear from you how you are going to participate. We will be posting on the TAC website a list of worldwide actions (www.tac.org.za), as well as contact information. Feel free to forward this appeal widely and to tell us about others we should contact.

In solidarity,
Vuyani Jacobs (TAC Labour Co-ordinator)
Queries: vuyani@tac.org.za

SAMPLE LETTER TO SA GOVERNMENT FOR 24 APRIL

Mr J Zuma (Deputy-President, South Africa)
Dr ME Tshabalala-Msimang (Minister of Health, South Africa)
Mr A Erwin (Minister of Trade and Industry, South Africa
Dr NC Dlamini Zuma (Minister of Foreign Affairs, South Africa)
120 Plein Street
CAPE TOWN
8001

24 April 2003

Fax: +27 21 464 2271

Dear Mr Zuma, Dr Tshabalala-Msimang, Mr Erwin and Dr Dlamini Zuma

SOUTH AFRICA NEEDS AN HIV/AIDS TREATMENT AND PREVENTION PLAN

We are deeply concerned that the South African government has not adopted or implemented an HIV/AIDS treatment plan. Over 600 South Africans die a day on average of HIV/AIDS. Most of them die because they cannot afford to buy life-saving medicines. We appeal to you agree to the demands of the Treatment Action Campaign to sign the NEDLAC Framework Agreement for an HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention Plan and to make an irrevocable commitment to providing antiretroviral therapy in the public sector. If South Africa does this, it will demonstrate that wide-scale treatment can be made available in the developing world and that there is no reason why the international community cannot unite to make life-saving treatment available to poor people everywhere.

South Africa's transition to democracy has been remarkable. Its Constitution and democratic structures have set a magnificent example for the whole world. But the South African Government's negligent response to the HIV epidemic is damaging its international reputation. We appeal to you: For the sake of millions of lives give meaning to the Constitutional rights to life, dignity and health-care by implementing an HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention plan. South Africa's Freedom Day is in a few days time. This marks the first democratic election in South Africa. Please use this day as an opportunity to give hope to millions of people by announcing the rollout of an antiretroviral treatment programme.

Sincerely,
Your name, organisation, full address

CC: Local Consulate-General/Ambassador

CC: Local Media & info@tac.org.za