National Treasury has proposed a R1 billion cut to HIV funding. This has come about because – rather than seeing the reduced price of antiretroviral treatment as an opportunity to scale up treatment coverage and strengthen other interventions to address the HIV epidemic – the Department of Health has seen it as an opportunity for cost-containment. However, the HIV epidemic is not over and savings owing to cost reductions should not simply be returned to Treasury, argue Matshidiso Lencoasa and Mila Harding.
It is estimated that over 65% of the global HIV burden is in sub-Saharan Africa. Now, in an attempt to propel African voices and perspectives in the next phase of the HIV response in Africa, a group of Africans established an African-led HIV control working group (HCWG). They are all experts from the continent who have come together to develop consensus perspectives on the long-term sustained control of HIV and prioritise the systems and capabilities to achieve it. Drs Yogan Pillay and Izukanji Sikazwe explain the thinking behind the new working group and set out their objectives.
According to recently published estimates from Thembisa, the leading mathematical model of HIV in South Africa, around 7.8 million people, or 13.2% of the population, were living with HIV in South Africa in 2022. Marcus Low looked at the numbers and what they tell us about the state of HIV in South Africa.
Around 7.8 million people were living with HIV in South Africa in 2022, of which 5.7 million were taking antiretroviral treatment. Currently, HIV treatment is life-long, something that makes treatment adherence challenging for some. Tiyese Jeranji explores what role Digital Adherence Technologies can play in helping people stay on treatment.
The uptake and continuation of tuberculosis preventive therapy were much higher when it was provided through a community-based model compared to the standard clinic-based model, a study conducted in KwaZulu-Natal found. Elri Voigt unpacks the study findings, which were recently presented at the Conference for Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, USA.
Conversations with young people about sex can lead to safer sexual behaviour, like delayed sexual debut, the use of condoms and other contraceptives, and having fewer concurrent sexual partners but we need to give learners and young people clear and reliable information so that they can make informed choices relating to their health, writes Julia Chaskalson.
As we look at the year ahead, urgent work remains to build on past successes and to bring the HIV epidemic sustainably under control. Amongst others, we need to address persistent stigma and discrimination, as well as the structural and social factors that put women and girls at increased risk of HIV infection, argues Rachel Toku-Appiah.
HIV prevention pills are becoming more widely available in South Africa and the country is set to soon start piloting the use of an HIV prevention injection. But merely having these tools available in clinics and other places does not mean people will use them. Thabo Molelekwa asked several experts what behaviour change communications should look like in this new era of HIV prevention.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children should have free healthcare services, irrespective of nationality and documentation status. It is an entitlement that our law already affords them and one that we will continue to defend writes Thembi Mahlathi and Sibusisiwe Ndlela.
In 2021, HIV was successfully suppressed in the bodies of around 63% of the close to eight million people living with HIV in South Africa. This is according to recent outputs from Thembisa, the leading mathematical model of HIV in South Africa. With the help of some graphs, Spotlight editor Marcus Low unpacks this and other key model outputs.
Special youth clinics appear to be an effective means of providing healthcare services to young people who otherwise might not engage with healthcare services. But is building more youth clinics realistic given our resource constraints, or is it better to focus on making ‘normal’ clinics more youth-friendly – or should we be looking beyond clinic-based healthcare services altogether? Tiyese Jeranji investigates.
The rollout of new TB prevention medicines in South Africa has progressed slower than expected and new TB prevention guidelines have been delayed. But, reports Catherine Tomlinson, new guidelines should soon be approved and things appear to be falling into place for a faster rollout of the new medicines.