OPINION: Reflections on a budget of ‘unmet expectations’

OPINION: Reflections on a budget of ‘unmet expectations’

Budgets alone do not solve structural issues, but what it does is provide some insight into the government’s plans for addressing its broader developmental priorities. Russel Rensburg unpacks what the medium-term budget policy statement means for the health sector.

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Experts urge registration of new child-friendly ARV formulation

Experts urge registration of new child-friendly ARV formulation

Children living with HIV have to take multiple different antiretroviral pills or syrups twice a day, while most adults in South Africa have been offered one pill once a day regimens for around a decade. At the recent South African HIV Clinicians Society (SAHCS) conference, various speakers argued that better treatment regimens for kids are needed urgently. Thabo Molelekwa reports.

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In Focus: Unpacking the link between HIV and mental health

In Focus: Unpacking the link between HIV and mental health

Studies show that people living with HIV are often at a higher risk for depression and anxiety, including a higher risk of suicide. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to mental health practitioners, activists, and people living with HIV to unpack the link between HIV and mental health.

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Opinion: The over-criminalisation of HIV transmission does more harm than good

Opinion: The over-criminalisation of HIV transmission does more harm than good

Although it is necessary for the criminal justice system to prohibit and punish conduct that is harmful to the public interest, criminalising exposure to or transmission of HIV goes against important public health principles, writes Sibusisiwe Ndlela.

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Eastern Cape health services hamstrung by staff and medicine shortages, report finds

Eastern Cape health services hamstrung by staff and medicine shortages, report finds

Findings of a clinic monitoring report released last week, again highlighted how delivery of health services in the Eastern Cape are hamstrung by staff and medicine shortages. Luvuyo Mehlwana unpacks the data and the provincial health department’s plans to address the challenges identified in the report.

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Human resource issues at root of Free State health problems, report suggests

Human resource issues at root of Free State health problems, report suggests

Shortages of healthcare workers are contributing to long waiting times at healthcare facilities, poor treatment adherence, and are undermining the response to HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in the Free State, findings in a new report show. Refilwe Mochoari attended the launch of the report and asked the Free State Department of Health for its response.

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Editorial: HIV prevention injection should be fast-tracked like COVID-19 vaccines

Editorial: HIV prevention injection should be fast-tracked like COVID-19 vaccines

Findings of two large phase III clinical trials first presented in 2020 showed a new HIV prevention injection to be highly effective. Yet, experts expect that the injection will only reach clinics in late 2022 or early 2023. If the rhetoric about bringing the urgency of COVID-19 to HIV is to mean anything, these timelines should be made shorter.

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Staff shortages undermining quality of healthcare in Limpopo, report finds

Staff shortages undermining quality of healthcare in Limpopo, report finds

Many clinics in Limpopo are operating without the required number of staff needed to deliver quality healthcare services, according to a report from Ritshidze, a community healthcare monitoring project. Activists say these staff shortages contribute to long waiting times for patients and overworked staff – which can ultimately undermine the province’s HIV programme.

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In-depth: What will it take to bring HIV prevention injections to SA’s clinics?

In-depth: What will it take to bring HIV prevention injections to SA’s clinics?

An antiretroviral injection administered every two months has been shown to be highly effective in preventing people from getting HIV in two large trials. Catherine Tomlinson asks what needs to happen before these injections become available to people in South Africa.

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Research round-up: 7 new HIV prevention options in the pipeline

Research round-up: 7 new HIV prevention options in the pipeline

One of the most vibrant areas of HIV research these days is the search for new, more convenient ways to use antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) to prevent HIV infection. Elri Voigt rounds up the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) research presented at the recent International AIDS Society Conference, including a biodegradable antiretroviral implant.

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COVID-19 and HIV: What we can learn from a new WHO report

COVID-19 and HIV: What we can learn from a new WHO report

The risk of developing severe or fatal COVID-19 is 30% greater in people living with HIV compared to those who are HIV negative, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. Comprised of data from 37 countries, including South Africa, the report suggests people living with HIV should be prioritised for vaccination. Laura Owings reports.

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In-depth: SA pharmacists will soon be able to prescribe HIV treatment

In-depth: SA pharmacists will soon be able to prescribe HIV treatment

In what Spotlight understands to be a world-first, South Africa is on the brink of allowing pharmacists with the required permits to prescribe HIV medicines without people first having to get a script from a doctor or nurse. Catherine Tomlinson investigates how it will work and why it may be just the boost the country’s HIV response needs.

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