“On a whole, it is evident that there is a lot that government, supported by its partners, is doing in the area of tackling the challenge of HIV and gender-based violence.
“The programmes will only have a real impact if we as society take responsibility for the well-being of all young girls and women in our country.
“Any investment in programmes that ensure that they attain their full potential will secure a much better future, full of opportunities, for all these young women,” he said.
The Deputy President was responding to a question in the National Assembly on the steps government was taking to address the challenges facing these programmes.
The Deputy President said while the country has made great progress over the past few years over prevention treatment, care and support, new HIV infections amongst adolescent girls and young women remained persistently high.
He said government was dedicating a lot of attention and resources to this age group through a number of programmes.
In addition, the Deputy President said government and some of its development partners were providing resources for a wide range of NGOs with expertise and experience who are working with girls and young women.
“In June this year, we launched a government and society wide campaign known as ‘She conquers’. This campaign seeks to reduce new HIV infections. It also seeks to reduce teenage pregnancies. It is also focused on keeping young girls at school, until matric at least, to stop gender-based violence and increase economic opportunities for young people,” he said.
The Deputy President said this multi-sectorial campaign brings together interventions by government, civil society, the private sector and development partners under a coherent framework to holistically address the various factors that place young people at risk of contracting HIV.
He also said that through this initiative, adolescent girls and young women will receive an integrated comprehensive package of biomedical, behavioural change as well as structural interventions.
“Prevention programmes are aimed at shifting attitudes and behaviour in communities. Post violence care interventions include support by Thuthuzela Care Centres that support victims of gender based and sexual violence as well as victims of intimate partner violence.
“As part of the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children campaign, the Department of Women, supported by other government departments, are currently conducting national dialogues to raise awareness of the seriousness of violence among South Africans.
“These dialogues provide a platform for men and women across the country to share their stories and also to get engaged on conversations on ways to uproot the scourge of violence in our society,” he said.