Health in 2021: Another tumultuous year in under a thousand words

It wasn’t rocket science when we predicted at the start of 2021 that South Africa’s biggest challenge this year would be to get COVID-19 shots into as many arms as possible. But the way it has played out with multiple setbacks and scrambling problem-solving is not something anyone could have predicted. In fewer than a thousand words, Spotlight editor Marcus Low takes a look back at a tumultuous year in health in South Africa.

Read More

Forty years on, HIV still taking a toll on young people

“Driving a fast car”; “getting the top three letters”; or “playing the lotto” – nearly 40 years from when HIV was first described, the virus is still a thing of euphemism and stigma. It’s also still infecting at least 4 000 people a day around the world, most of them young people, especially girls and young women. Ufrieda Ho reports.

Read More

Opinion: We should make it much easier for people to start and stay on HIV treatment

The top priority in our HIV programme should be to make it as easy as possible for people to start and stay on treatment. Yet, as a number of provincial reports released this year by community monitoring group Ritshidze have shown, there are many healthcare system factors that work directly against this objective. Spotlight editor Marcus Low considers some of the potential solutions.

Read More

HIV Self-Testing: Will uptake in SA finally take off?

Around one in ten of the over seven million people living with HIV in South Africa are not aware that they have the virus in their bodies. One way to ensure more people are diagnosed more quickly is to make HIV self-tests more widely available. Tiyese Jeranji looks at what HIV Self Testing is, how it is done, and what government policy is on this type of HIV testing.

Read More

In-depth: Getting Gauteng’s HIV and TB response back on track

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.  

Read More

From the frontlines: 20 years of fighting HIV in Khayelitsha

Two decades since Doctors without Borders (MSF) started its HIV programme in Khayelitsha, the organisation will start wrapping up its operations. Siyabonga Kamnqa spoke to some people living with HIV who benefitted from this programme and who now work as activists about developments over the last 20 years.

Read More

‘Welcome Back Service’ aims to help people get back on HIV treatment

While South Africa is doing well on some of the UNAIDS HIV targets for 2020, one target we are set to miss is ensuring that 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are on antiretroviral therapy. Partly in response to this problem, the ‘Welcome back’ campaign started by Doctors without Borders aims to make it easier for people who have stopped taking treatment to restart. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

Read More