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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 08:37, December 23, 2005
Merry Christmas and prevent AIDS, S. Africans told
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Merry Christmas, have a safe sex, don't drink too much, avoid crime and drive safely.

Holiday revelers in South Africa were told so on Thursday as they gear up for the biggest festive season in the year.

In a festive season message to all South Africans, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said during the Christmas holiday, people should be reminded to act to preserve life, which was under threat of AIDS pandemic, violent crime and frequent road accidents in the past year.

As families and communities across the country join hands to celebrate life, "let us act also to preserve life," said the party that has ruled the post-apartheid South Africa for eleven years.

The past year witnessed the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS causing huge loss of lives and increasing impact on almost entire social spectrum. An estimated 5.2 million South Africans, or 11 percent of the country's population, were infected with HIV, and unsafe sex has long been blamed as the leading cause of the pandemic.

"The ANC calls on all South Africans to take personal responsibility to prevent the spread of HIV .. to support safer sexual practices by observing the A-B-C (Abstinence, Be loyal to spouse, Condom) approach," said the party.

The ANC-dominated government has been under increasing pressure from domestic right groups and international organizations in the past year for slow progress in rolling out life-prolonging antiretroviral drugs for AIDS patients.

The party's New Year message also include advice on responsible use of alcohol and roads since drinking- and driving-related violence often turn worse during the holiday season.

"Let us work to prevent the abuse of alcohol over this festive season, to further reduce the incidence of crime and violence in our communities," said the ANC.

"Particularly at this time of year, we call on all road-users -- drivers and pedestrians -- to respect the rights of other road- users and adhere to all traffic rules," it added.

At least 560 people have been killed in road accidents in South Africa since the beginning of December, the peak month of traffic accidents and fatality.

Source: Xinhua

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