The era of viral load is here

By Sharonann Lynch – Viral load testing measures the amount of HIV virus (HIV RNA) in a person’s blood. It is the optimal method for identifying antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment failure (defined as an HIV viral load greater than 1000 copies/mL), because it is more sensitive and has a higher positive predictive value than CD4 cell count and other clinical indicators.

Read More

How HIV shaped us

By Professor Glenda Gray & Professor James A. McIntyre – HIV changed the nature of health in South Africa as our new democracy emerged. Seemingly overnight, in front of our eyes, young people and children died in unprecedented numbers. HIV slashed life expectancy, wiped out a generation of economically active adults in their prime across sub-Saharan Africa, reversed gains in under-five mortality and created a cohort of AIDS orphans.

Read More

How the dark age of HIV/AIDS changed our democracy – a personal view

By Professor Hoosen Coovadia – I was thrust into the vortex of International AIDS Society’s 13th International AIDS conference in 2000 as chairperson by my close colleagues Professor Quarraisha Abdool-Karim and Dr Gustaaf Wolvaardt, presumably due to the absence of any suitable alternatives, because of my academic record (such as it was at that time) and my leadership roles in the struggle for freedom.

Read More

Motsoaledi and the devil’s alternative

By Ntsiki Mpulo – Health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi sat down with Spotlight in an exclusive interview. He shares details on how the department plans to target vulnerable groups in efforts to stem the incidence of HIV. He speaks passionately on plans to target adolescents, a little less forceful on decriminalizing sex work and is thin on detail when it comes to men who have sex with men.

Read More

The next International AIDS Conference needs to be “an earthquake”

By Nomatter Ndebele – Ten years ago, the International AIDS Conference was held in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. Nkosi Johnson, who died a year later at the age of 12 – the longest-surviving HIV-positive born child at the time – addressed the plenary and made a plea to the government to make antiretroviral treatment available to pregnant women with HIV.

Read More

The barefoot soldiers of a public health care system that doesn’t seem to care

The barefoot soldiers of a public health care system that doesn’t seem to care

By Nomatter Ndebele – For the past 17 years, 55-year old Doris Ntuli has worked as a community caregiver (CCG) in the community of Sweetwaters, in Pietermaritzburg, Durban. In that time Ntuli has only received a pay increase of R300 (US$20). Her total monthly income is R1500 (US$95).

Read More