This forum aims to sound "early warnings" and to communicate successes within the programme to the public.
In its first public statement on Monday, the forum announced that the programme was progressing very slowly for want of political leadership.
"Really, what is needed is for Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang to take a strong stand and make it clear that she wants this programme to be a success," said Nhlanhla Ndlovu of Idasa.
is strong leadership, there has been steady progress in the programmes'
National government, and some provincial governments, have not responded to the forum's requests for more information.
Fatima Hassan of the Aids Law Project said the forum wanted to work with government to ensure the programmes succeeded, rather than to be antagonistic.
A report released by the forum on Monday said 8 000 people are taking anti-retrovirals in the state sector nationally. This is the same figure announced recently by the health minister.
The government's Aids plan originally aimed to have 53 000 on treatment by the end of the previous financial year, but the deadline has been moved to the end of this financial year.
Government estimated in 2003 that around half a million people need the drugs to stay alive.
The report found that:
Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal have got the drugs they ordered. The forum sent letters asking provincial governments why more people are not being treated, but has received no replies.
The problems that have been reported include a lack of health staff.
Poor provinces could not implement the programme without help from national government, said Hassan.
The forum was worried that the health department had not yet awarded the tenders for providing Aids drugs, although this was originally timetabled for the end of July.
Another "major concern" was that provinces spent less on Aids programmes in the first quarter of this year than they did last year, although their government grants had increased.
The forum also includes the Health Systems Trust, the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, the UCT School of Public Health and Family Medicine and Médicins sans Frontieres.
It is open to other interested civil society bodies.
The Cape Times could not reach Sibani Mngadi, the spokesperson for Tshabalala-Msimang, or Charity Bengu, the health department spokesperson, for comment.
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