Opinion: This is how SA can meet its HIV targets

To respond to the call to end AIDS by 2030, Dr Yogan Pillay argues it is firstly critical to agree on what we mean by ending AIDS. Secondly, he suggests it is important to have accurate and granular data that can inform a more targeted approach to reaching those people that the health system typically does not reach.

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Analysis: Where we are with NIMART 13 years later

Once South Africa had closed the door on state-sponsored AIDS denialism in 2008, a critical question was how to offer HIV treatment to as many eligible people as possible as quickly as possible. Given that the health system did not have enough doctors for the job, it was decided in 2010 to rope in nurses to help out. Tiyese Jeranji asks where things stand with Nurse Initiated and Managed Antiretroviral treatment (NIMART) 13 years later.

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Interview: “I used that anger to feed my activist’s soul,” says former TAC General Secretary

In 2001, at age 22, Vuyiseka Dubula-Majola joined the Treatment Action Campaign in its fight to bring antiretrovirals to South Africa. Today, she walks the streets of Geneva in Switzerland to get to her job as head of the Global Fund’s community, rights and gender department. Biénne Huisman spoke with Dubula-Majola about her remarkable journey, balancing activism with diplomacy, and the struggle “to build and regain the dignity of poor people around the globe”.

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Integrating HIV and NCD care is critical but not straight-forward, clinicians say

With the remarkable success of antiretroviral treatment people living with HIV in South Africa are generally living much longer than they did two decades ago. As a result, more people with HIV are also now living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and hypertension. Accordingly, the need to better integrate HIV and NCD services was a hot topic at the recent Southern African HIV Clinicians Society conference in Cape Town. Elri Voigt reports.

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Statin lowers cardio risk in people living with HIV, large study finds

Study findings presented this week at a major HIV conference show that taking a statin every day substantially reduces the chances of suffering a major adverse cardiovascular event in people living with HIV who have a low-to-moderate risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings were also published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Elri Voigt unpacks the study findings and asks what it might mean for people in South Africa.

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Over 4.7m people in SA placed on new HIV med in four years

In what is likely one of the largest treatment rollouts in South African history, well over four million people living with HIV have started taking the antiretroviral dolutegravir since its introduction around four years ago. Now, according to a recent study published in the Lancet medical journal, use of dolutegravir in South Africa is associated with more people staying on treatment and higher rates of viral suppression. Elri Voigt unpacks the study findings and assesses progress in the country’s switch to dolutegravir-based HIV treatment.

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SA AIDS 2023: New treatments and guidelines to benefit kids, with more advances on the horizon

The 11th SA AIDS conference, recently held in Durban, highlighted the worrying fact that key HIV numbers such as treatment coverage are much lower in children than in adults. But as Elri Voigt reports, conference delegates also heard about new treatments and guidelines that will make life easier for kids and the exciting potential of several new long-acting experimental treatments.

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Analysis: Landmark SA court case takes on US maker of cystic fibrosis drugs

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a debilitating and often deadly disease. Until recently, the only treatments for its symptoms were difficult to administer and time-consuming. Life-changing new treatments that dramatically improve the prognosis for people with the disease have been developed, but they are expensive and Vertex, the US company making the drugs, has decided against registering the drugs in South Africa. Cheri Nel, a woman living with CF, is now taking Vertex on in a South African court. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the details.

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