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.
On World AIDS Day, Dr Thembisile Xulu, CEO of the South African AIDS Council will share a podium with Deputy President David Mabuza for the country’s official commemoration event in Limpopo. Bienne Huisman spoke to her about how she settled into the CEO role and what keeps her busy.
Already very long waiting times for gender-affirming surgery in South Africa’s public sector have gotten even longer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tiyese Jeranji investigates the challenges transgender persons in the country face in accessing gender-affirming care.
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.
South Africa will delay introducing a new HIV and TB plan until 2024, Deputy President David Mabuza revealed on Wednesday. The plan is delayed to allow the country’s HIV and TB responses to recover from COVID-19-related disruptions. Laura Lopez Gonzalez reports for Spotlight.
Despite the global emergence of highly resistant strains of gonorrhoea, including untreatable variants, a new antibiotic for the disease has not been developed in over half a century. In January, a trial began in South Africa and other countries for a new gonorrhoea antibiotic. But what is gonorrhoea? How significant is the problem in South Africa and among those living with HIV? Do we have resistant strains too? Experts report a grim situation, but with hope on the horizon. Amy Green reports.
The Western Cape Department of Health recently opened a new men’s only health centre, which aims to empower boys and men to lead healthy lives. Siyabonga Kamnqa spoke to the centre’s manager and men’s health organisations about the value this centre will add and the services it provides.
According to the National Department of Health HIV prevention pills are now available at 1 227 public sector facilities (36% of the total). While far from the 100% target, this is a substantial improvement on the roughly 160 facilities that provided the pills six months ago. Amy Green reports.
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikhalala praised the Umkhanyakude District recently on its ‘exceptional’ figures in meeting the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. Yet, when Spotlight recently visited the Jozini area, we were confronted with a less rosy picture. Some people stopped their HIV treatment because they do not have food to eat, and activists now warn that the progress with the targets can be derailed if poverty, hunger and other social determinants of health are not urgently and comprehensively addressed. Nomfundo Xolo reports.
On Tuesday South Africa commemorated World AIDS Day in Soweto under the theme: We’re in the together, Cheka Impilo. Spotlight photographer Denvor De Wee was there to capture the event in pictures.
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.