The Aids battle continues

By Drum Digital
07 February 2012

South Africa still has a high number of people living with HIV and Aids. This is according to a survey conducted by the South African Institute of Race Relations.

The survey which  looked at the state of health and welfare in the 2010/11 period shows some improvements because there seems to be a decrease in the number of infections yearly and an increase in access to health care for women and South Africa’s infant mortality rate has decreased.

In proportion to the world population SA constitutes a mere 0.7% but South African HIV and Aids cases as a proportion of world HIV and Aids cases were 16.8%.

As of 1 July 2011, some 11% of South Africa’s population was living with HIV and Aids.

For every 1 000 people in South Africa there are 0.8 doctors. This is one of the lowest ratios on a list of selected countries across the globe.

It is projected that the highest HIV prevalence increase between 2002 and 2025 will be in the Northern Cape, while the lowest increase will be in Gauteng.

Between 2020 and 2025 it is projected that the HIV prevalence rate will begin to decline in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

There are no accurate estimates of the total number of people on antiretroviral treatment because of the Department of Health's poor monitoring system, according to the Treatment Action Campaign website.

It further says even though more than 90% of government clinics are currently providing prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services, the quality of monitoring and reporting on the PMTCT programme is particularly poor.

During a South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) meeting in August 2011, the deputy president, Kgalema Motlanthe, announced that all people who are infected with HIV and have a CD4 count of 350 and lower will be eligible for antiretroviral treatment (ARV treatment).

This is a further amendment to the South African antiretroviral guidelines. In 2010 the criteria were amended to allow only HIV-infected pregnant women and HIV-infected infants with a CD4 count of 350 and less to receive ARV treatment.

Everyone else had to wait for their CD4 count to drop to 200.

The National Health Insurance which is ought to bring about the betterment of the health system is to launch in April 2012 the pilot stage in ten selected districts.

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