HIV/Aids – The Milestones
Bona|December 2019
Dr Dulcy shares her views on the state of HIV/Aids in South Africa.
Dr Dulcy

Currently, South Africa has about 126 805 Aids-related deaths annually. The government and private healthcare sector are estimated to be investing more than $1.34 billion (about R19 billion) annually to run its HIV programs. However, we have made big strides in getting people to test for HIV using different government and Non- governmental Organisation- funded initiatives.

According to Statistics South Africa, about 87% are aware of their status. Also, by being one of the countries at the forefront of providing Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), SA has seen a reduction in the rates of new infections. The success of this Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) programme is also evident in the increase in national life expectancy, women rising from 56.6 years in 2007 to 67.7 in 2019 and men from 52.3 to 61.5

GROUPS IDENTIFIED AS HIGH-RISK

Sex workers – Certain factors increase HIV risk for sex workers including poverty, the number of dependents they have and lack of alternative career opportunities. Injecting drug use is also common among them, exacerbating their vulnerability to HIV infection.

Men who have sex with men – Despite the Constitution that protects the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or questioning), Intersex and Asexual communities, many men face high levels of social stigma and homophobic violence. This is a result of traditional and conservative attitudes within the general population. Also, there is a lack of knowledge around the issues that they’re faced with, making it difficult for them to disclose their sexuality to healthcare workers in order to get the care they need.

Transgender women – Stigma is another major barrier to transgender people receiving care.

People who inject drugs – They are also associated with other high- risk behaviors such as sex work and unsafe sexual practices.

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