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.
HIV in South Africa is not the crisis it was 20 years ago, and the country faces a growing burden of non-communicable diseases, but specific investments in HIV nevertheless continue to offer excellent value for money for governments and donors alike. As people gather for the 2023 International AIDS Society Conference in Brisbane, Australia, Marcus Low argues that while funding for HIV interventions remains absolutely essential, it is also critical for the future of the HIV response and people living with HIV that HIV should now be better integrated with other healthcare services, especially those for diabetes and hypertension.
The 11th South African AIDS Conference – the first since COVID-19-related disruptions – kicked off on Tuesday in Durban. This year’s theme is, “Act, Connect and End the Epidemic”. Spotlight summarises some key themes that emerged from the opening ceremony and spoke to some delegates.
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.
South Africa’s HIV testing programme has been a huge success over the last decade, largely due to the use of rapid tests. Now, the introduction of a new generation of rapid tests may offer some benefits over the current tests, but the picture is somewhat complicated and the Department of Health is not currently planning to use the new tests. Amy Green investigates.
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.
The AIDS2022 conference held recently in Montreal, Canada highlighted yet again the need for community activism and the importance of involving young people, writes Dr Yogan Pillay. He argues that the youth and communities must be engaged in the conceptualisation and writing of South Africa’s new AIDS plan, and young people and community-based organisations must have a central role in key aspects of its implementation.
A new study has analysed the change in the rate of new HIV infections from 2010 to 2019 and found that HIV incidence in South Africa has halved since 2010. This is mainly due to antiretroviral treatment and condom promotion, but male medical circumcision and behaviour change after HIV diagnosis had a role too, writes Leigh Johnson.
People who belong to key populations, such as men who have sex with men, often report that it is difficult for them to access health services – for example, due to negative healthcare worker attitudes. Now, a large survey published last week by community healthcare monitoring group Ritshidze provides important statistics that not only confirm that such experiences are widespread but also help in pinning down some specific issues. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
A UNAIDS report published earlier this year estimates that just under 4.5 million men and boys accessed voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC) services in South Africa by the end of 2019 with 47% of these having been performed from 2016 to 2019. Thabo Molelekwa reports on the impact COVID-19 has had on VMMCs and the challenges related to resuming this service in the country.
Studies show that people living with HIV are often at a higher risk for depression and anxiety, including a higher risk of suicide. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to mental health practitioners, activists, and people living with HIV to unpack the link between HIV and mental health.