“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.
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.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in HIV treatment in the 1990s came when three different antiretrovirals were used together, suppressing viral replication in multiple ways and preventing the development of drug resistance. Now, trials are showing that certain combinations of just two antiretrovirals might be as good as three, potentially bringing an end to a quarter of a century of triple therapy dominance. Elri Voigt reports.
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.
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.
If South Africa wants to strengthen the prevention arm of its HIV programme, which it definitely should, providing comprehensive sex education in schools and training teachers to deliver this curriculum will be vital. It is important that the HIV/AIDS Life Skills Grant, as one of the key pieces of a broader HIV prevention strategy, be supported and strengthened, argue Mbali Baduza and Julia Chaskalson.