A UNAIDS report published earlier this year estimates that just under 4.5 million men and boys accessed voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC) services in South Africa by the end of 2019 with 47% of these having been performed from 2016 to 2019. Thabo Molelekwa reports on the impact COVID-19 has had on VMMCs and the challenges related to resuming this service in the country.
Data collected by the Ritshidze community-led healthcare monitoring project is now being shared through a new, publicly accessible online dashboard. Authors involved with the project explain the kinds of insights this rich new data source can give on healthcare services in South Africa.
From March to July this year, the Gauteng Department of Health recorded 57 848 TB tests – a decrease of about 30 000 tests compared to the same period last year. The province performed better with HIV testing, although the HIV response has faltered in other areas. Melissa Javan makes sense of the province’s numbers and speaks to activists and community health workers about the impact of lockdown on their services and plans to get things back on track.
Two decades since Doctors without Borders (MSF) started its HIV programme in Khayelitsha, the organisation will start wrapping up its operations. Siyabonga Kamnqa spoke to some people living with HIV who benefitted from this programme and who now work as activists about developments over the last 20 years.
If South Africa is forced to go into a COVID-19 lockdown again, HIV support groups and adherence clubs should remain functional to make sure that everyone is supported, has regular access to information and treatment, and that people are motivated to adhere to treatment, argue Annah Maluleke and Solanga Milambo.
HIV medicines for children often taste bitter, pills are large, and for many children there is a lot of medication to take. This makes it hard to take treatment as prescribed. Tiyese Jeranji looks at the challenges with currently available HIV medicines for children, what innovations are in the pipeline, and how HIV treatment is being tailored to suit the needs of children.
In 2018, Cabinet adopted a new intellectual property policy for South Africa, but as yet the policy has not led to any change in the country’s patent laws. Amending these laws as soon as possible is critical to both the COVID-19 and HIV response, argues Umunyana Rugege.
Almost nine months since the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) released a damning report with dozens of women living with HIV’s testimonies about forced sterilisations allegedly performed on them in public health facilities, the Department of Health has now moved to implement the Commission’s recommendations. Nomfundo Xolo reports.
Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) has been shown to reduce the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission by 60%. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown, health authorities and organisations conducting VMMC in South Africa, say the numbers of men and boys being medically circumcised have dropped dramatically. Siyabonga Kamnqa reports.
The U=U campaign is based on a simple message – an undetectable viral load in people living with HIV equals an untransmissible virus. The U=U campaign, argues Mandisa Dukashe, has the power to motivate people living with HIV to adhere to ARVs, achieve viral suppression, and subsequently lead long and healthy lives while preventing HIV transmission to sexual partners and their babies.