AIDS Virus Infected 30 Percent of Pregnant South African Women
July 24, 2006
A Department of Health survey released Friday showed 30 percent of pregnant women in South Africa are HIV-positive. The department, which conducted the survey in October 2005, said the figures show little increase over 2004 - an indication, it said, that new infections may be leveling out.
"This is encouraging to note, but a great deal of work still needs to be done to ensure that new infections no longer take place at all in South Africa," Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said in the foreword to the report.
Nationwide testing at antenatal clinics indicated 30.2 percent of pregnant women were HIV-infected, up from 29.5 percent in 2004. KwaZulu-Natal province was hardest hit, with some 39 percent of pregnant women infected. Infection rates among pregnant women are higher than in the general adult population because women in most African countries are worse-affected than men by HIV, and all members of the studied population have been sexually active.
In 2005, HIV prevalence among teenagers was an estimated 15.9 percent, down from 16.1 percent in 2004, the survey found. "This might imply a sustained change in behavior among young people, including engaging in safer sexual practices such as being in mutually faithful relationships," it said. "These gains need to be taken a step further to result in reduced teenage pregnancies as well."
Overall, approximately 18.8 percent of people ages 15-49, or 4.9 million people, were HIV-infected. An estimated 235,000 children under age 14 were infected, typically as a result of mother-to-child transmission. The survey estimated that 5.54 million South Africans were living with HIV/AIDS compared to previous estimates, based on outdated calculation methods, of 5.7 million to 6.2 million infections.
07.21.06; Clare Nullis
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.