The war against HIV and AIDS has been underway for over 3 decades now. South Africa has some 7.7m HIV-positive people (20% of the adult population, making SA the country with the most HIV positive people in the world). Over 4m South Africans are on ART – South Africa has the largest ART programme in the world and the situation is a much-improved one when compared with 10 years ago. Battles are being won.
It is estimated that over 50-100 000 South Africans die from AIDS-related causes annually. This figure is too high. The rate of new infections is dropping but remains at over 200 000 new infections each year. This is too high. Stigma remains a major issue in our society and in the workplace. This is unacceptable.
South Africa seems to be doing:
- Quite well on “knowledge of status” (90% of HIV positive people know their status).
- Less well on getting people onto ARVs (68% are on ARVs). This may be the biggest challenge currently.
- Quite well on ensuring the ARVs are working (87% of those on ARVs are virally suppressed).
The reality is that the war against HIV and AIDS is not yet won. Real progress has been made, some battles have been won, but the war remains.