The Mid-year Population Estimates for 2019, released by Statistics South Africa in July, show that about 7.97 million of the 58.78 million citizens are living with HIV. This means the HIV prevalence rate among South Africans is estimated to be about 13.5%. With 19% of the global number of people living with HIV, 15% of new infections and 11% of Aids-related deaths, SA has the biggest and most high-profile HIV pandemic in the world. These numbers are enough to prove that HIV/Aids remains one of the leading and urgent issues facing the country. Despite that, the government and other bodies have put a lot of effort to improve matters since 1999.
OVERCOMING THE STIGMA
Sibongile Gedeza (39), a single mother of three from Ntuzuma in Durban, has been living with HIV for over 8 years and is open about her status. She wants to encourage other people who are infected to receive treatment and lead healthy lifestyles so that they can live longer. “My mother died of an Aids-related illness in 2008. What breaks my heart is that her life could have been spared had she taken treatment and looked after herself. But, she was too ashamed due to the stigma attached to the virus back then. She even refused to go to the clinic for medication, fearing that some community members would find out and ridicule her. So, when I was diagnosed, I swore that
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