EU sending more than $170 million to fight AIDS, TB in South Africa

The European Commission recently announced that the European Union will spend approximately $173 million in South Africa to fight AIDS and tuberculosis.

The funds will be used to improve South Africa’s health care system by increasing access to patients, according to Reuters. South Africa is currently battling to gain ground in preventing HIV infections and treating TB cases.

"The launch of one of the largest EU health programs in the world shows that we want to make a real difference in people's lives: reduce maternal and child mortality, fight diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and increase life expectancy," EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said, Reuters reports.

The entire health plan will be unveiled later this week when EU officials visit South Africa.

Approximately 5.4 million people in South Africa are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to official South African statistics.

“The primary health care as we used to practice in South Africa is no longer as strong as we want it to be, because primary health care builds the promotion of prevention of disease, rather than curative care,” Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s health minister, said, PBS reports. “The South African health system now is much more curative than it should be, and you can't combat things like HIV and TB with that type of system and that is what we are looking to reengineer and change.”