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.
Researchers have been trying to develop antiretroviral medicines that can last for weeks, months or even years per dose. Two such long-acting formulations have been approved in South Africa, but several more are on the horizon. Elri Voigt explores the science behind what makes a formulation long-acting and takes a look at some particularly exciting prospects.
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.
Last year Spotlight reported that pilot projects testing out a new HIV prevention injection and a vaginal ring in South Africa would start early in 2023. Yet, as delegates gathered for the SA AIDS Conference in Durban last week, those pilots hadn’t yet started. Alicestine October and Elri Voigt have the latest on the state of play with these critical projects.
South Africa is currently observing Child Protection Week to shine a spotlight on the rights of children, as enshrined in the Constitution and the Children’s Act. The campaign aims to ensure the rights, safety, and well-being of children – aiming to foster a safer environment. To foster a safe environment, however, children must not only feel physically safe but also emotionally safe. Yet teenagers often do not have a safe space to speak to trusted people about the confusion they face around their gender, writes Kholofelo Mphahlele.
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.
South Africa has been using HIV Rapid Diagnostic Tests (Finger prick same-day testing) for years. Now, the National Department of Health has decided to align with the World Health Organization’s recommendation of a new three-test algorithm to ensure accuracy of results. René Sparks unpacks why this is important.
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.
New research shows a quick-dissolving, rectal suppository designed to prevent HIV infection is safe, although its efficacy remains to be tested in clinical trials, some of which will be conducted in South Africa. Still, the findings released late Tuesday could herald the start of a new “take as needed” era in HIV prevention.
An HIV prevention injection approved in South Africa, several promising developments on the tuberculosis front, the National Health Insurance Bill grinding its way through Parliament, no end in sight to healthcare worker shortages, another dire year for health in Gauteng – Spotlight wraps up 2022 in under 1 000 words.
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.
The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Equalise and Integrate to End AIDS”. One aspect in which more equality is needed is between the quality of HIV testing services and aiming to test as many people as possible, argues René Sparks.