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 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.
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.
Professor Wendy Stevens believes ‘completely in the honesty of science’ and this, she says, has landed her in the naughty corner many times throughout her career. Biénne Huisman spoke to Stevens – a global leader in HIV and TB laboratory medicine about her career, what you choose when science and politics collide, and the value of swimming upstream.
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.
To combat COVID-19, our country has been able to move millions of people through vaccination sites each month, creating a potential ‘one-stop shop’ for vital health check-ups. In this, healthcare workers have an unprecedented opportunity to reach people they may not otherwise have access to, such as those living with HIV, writes Dhirisha Naidoo.
In 2014, South Africa launched an HPV vaccination campaign targeting 9-year-old public school learners in Grade 4. It involves delivering two doses of vaccine six months apart. Laura Owings asks how the campaign is going and what recent real-world HPV vaccine effectiveness data from the United Kingdom might mean for South Africa.
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.
From March to July this year, the Gauteng Department of Health recorded 57 848 TB tests – a decrease of about 30 000 tests compared to the same period last year. The province performed better with HIV testing, although the HIV response has faltered in other areas. Melissa Javan makes sense of the province’s numbers and speaks to activists and community health workers about the impact of lockdown on their services and plans to get things back on track.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation is investigating allegations that South Africans working at the Libyan embassy in Pretoria were pressured to test and reveal their HIV status after asking to be tested for COVID-19.
It seems HIV and TB are falling by the wayside in the drive to stop the spread of COVID-19. Where we can we must minimise the harm to the HIV and TB response, and we need to see the opportunity to address all three diseases together, writes Erica Penfold.