West Cape, South Africa, HIV Rate Tops 10 Percent
September 11, 2003
HIV prevalence in the Western Cape, normally the lowest in South Africa, has jumped higher than 10 percent for the first time. Dr. Fareed Abdullah, head of the Western Cape's AIDS program, is "very worried" about the figure from the 2002 national HIV antenatal survey, released Tuesday. The survey, widely accepted as a reliable indication of the pandemic's progression, shows a jump from 8.6 percent prevalence in 2001 to 12.4 percent last year.
Increases in HIV among women ages 25-29 and 30-34 were significant, rising from 30.6 percent in 2000 to 34.5 percent in 2002 for the first group, and from 23.3 percent in 2000 to 29.5 percent in 2002 for the second group. Statisticians noted that the increase among 40-plus women was "very significant," a jump from 9.8 percent in 2001 to 17.2 percent last year. HIV prevalence rates in under-20 women indicated "continued stabilization" nationally, although Abdullah noted that rates are still rising in the Western Cape.
South African syphilis rates were slightly up (2.8 percent in 2001 to 3.2 percent in 2002) after a drop from 4.9 percent in 2000. In the province, syphilis rates continued to drop, from 2.9 percent of pregnant women in 2001 to 2 percent in the most recent figures.
Extrapolations from a model developed by the national health department estimate that 5.3 million South Africans were HIV-positive at the end of last year, up from 4.74 million in 2001. Estimates show that last year nearly 100,000 babies were infected through mother-to-child transmission.
In her preface to the report, national Health Minister Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said the country continued to see stabilization in HIV prevalence rates, but that HIV and STDs remain a concern that demands more attention and intervention. Abdullah said the Western Cape was strengthening the peer education program in schools and instituting a two-year counseling and testing campaign.
09.10.2003; Cape Argus (South Africa)
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.