By next June a ramped up AIDS plan, announced by the South African government on Thursday, aims to test 15 million residents for HIV in the world's worst affected country.
President Jacob Zuma's cabinet, which approved the scaled up program on Wednesday, will lead a voluntary and public testing campaign with the goal of a 50 percent drop in the rate of infection by 2011.
Advertisement"The target of the HCT (HIV counseling and testing) campaign is to test up to 15 million people by June 2011," cabinet spokesman Themba Maseko told journalists.
"All public health facilities, fixed and mobile, will be equipped to offer HIV testing and to provide ART's (antiretroviral therapy)."
An estimated 5.7 million of 48 million South Africans are HIV positive, according to the UN AIDS agency, with South Africa now boasting the world's largest treatment program after years of failure to roll out life-saving drugs.
The new plan, to meet a target of providing anti-AIDS drugs to 80 percent of South Africans in need of treatment, will be launched on April 15.