South Africa's HIV Infections Fall to 5.4 Million: Government
August 26, 2011
On Thursday, South Africa's deputy president responded to a parliamentary request for an update on national HIV/AIDS efforts. AIDS-related deaths are down, he said, but getting a handle on new infections continues to be a struggle.
"South Africa has invested a large amount of resources into its HIV response," said Kgalema Motlanthe in his report. "The number of deaths due to HIV-related causes is beginning to show a decline due to the intensification of antiretroviral [ARV] treatment." But, "The rate of new infections continues to outpace our prevention efforts, and thus prevention programs will be prioritized in the new national strategic plan, which is being developed for the term 2012 to 2016."
South Africa has more HIV cases than any country in the world. Motlanthe said there are 5.38 million infections among the population of 50 million, down from a UN-estimated figure of 5.6 million in 2009. Around 1.3 million South Africans are receiving ARVs though the government's drug program, making it the largest worldwide.
Government statistics place South Africa's infection rate at 10.6 percent of the overall population, with 16.6 percent of people ages 15-29 and just under 30 percent of pregnant women infected, Motlanthe said. However, mother-to-child HIV transmission has declined from 10 percent to 3.5 percent during the last three years, he said.
South Africa recently wrapped up a national HIV testing initiative that reached nearly 14 million people, of whom 2 million tested positive. And the government has announced it will provide ARVs to all HIV patients whose CD4 counts fall below 350 cells per microliter, based on new studies that show earlier treatment saves lives; previously the protocol was 200 cells per microliter.
Agence France Presse
South African HIV Cases Fall Slightly to 5.4 Million, but New Infections Continue to Outpace Prevention Efforts
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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