Survey finds staggering HIV rate in pregnant women

2010-11-11 13:10

HIV prevalence countrywide among pregnant women last was estimated at 29.4%, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said today.

This needed to brought down to 17.3% by 2015, he told delegates at the National Consultative Health Forum in Johannesburg.

Last year’s national estimate and provincial figures indicated a stable prevalence over the past four years.

“The HIV epidemic poses one of the greatest health and developmental challenges. In this country particularly the epidemic is threatening the reversal of post-apartheid developmental gains.”

Since 1990 the department had been conducting a National Antenatal Sentinel HIV and Syphilis Prevalence survey. The survey was the 20th in a series of annual ones conducted in nine provinces and 52 health districts.

It surveyed 33 841 pregnant women from 1 457 public ante-natal clinics during October last year.

According to results the prevalence in the 15- to 24-year-old group of pregnant women was 21.7%. This section made up almost 50% of the survey population, Motsoaledi said.

Prevalence among 30- to 34-year-olds was 41.5%. This was the only group where HIV/Aid cases were increasing.

KwaZulu-Natal had the highest prevalence, followed by Mpumalanga and Free State. All three had a prevalence higher than 30%.

The North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape had a prevalence of between 20 and 30%. The Northern and Western Cape were the only provinces with a prevalence below 20%, the minister said.

December 1 is World Aids Day. The theme for this year would be “We Are Responsible“, the SA National Aids Council said.

Campaigns around the country needed to be stepped up, chairman Mark Heywood told journalists on Thursday. He said Sanac was calling for a national day of action and asked all South Africans to do something on World Aids Day.

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