South Africa has the worlds largest AIDS epidemic. With the recent celebration of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, AIDS once again raises its head to darken the horizon of South Africa’s future. But hope also looms on the horizon. Some battles are being won in the long war waged against AIDS. Life expectancy has risen from 61.2 years to 67.7 years as of 2017. This is, in itself, is a major achievement of the active AIDS programmes being rolled out across the country.
Success of AIDS treatment and prevention programmes
For example, since school aged children began to receive sex education, the rate of sexually transmitted disease such as genital herpes has been reduced by 33%. In addition to this, mother to child transmissions (MTCT) have seen numbers fall from 3.6% to 2 % in just 2 years. New drugs and an active public awareness programme are credited for this success.
Another AIDS programme sweeping the country is the antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programme. The ARV programme in South Africa is the largest ongoing AIDS treatment programme in the world. Adults are more likely to receive ARV treatment than children with 61% of infected adults receiving ARV and only 58% of infected children receiving ARV treatment..
It is now believed that 61% of South Africans diagnosed with HIV are receiving ARV treatment, and health organisations are striving to increase this figure. But with 270,000 new cases as of 2017 and the programme’s annual cost of $1.34 billion, this seems to be an uphill task.
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