South Africa has the highest HIV infection rate in the world with 1 in 5 people infected with the HIV virus in the world, living in South Africa. This is an alarming number that needs to be taken under control. Here are some of the local numbers.

What percentage of adults are HIV positive

Almost 19% of adults (people between 15 and 49 years old) are HIV positive That is almost 1 in every 5 adults in South Africa.

Just consider that number for a second and look around you. 1 in every 5 people!!! Now take a walk outside or into a shopping centre.. Just imagine the number of HIV positive people!

How many people are living with HIV in SA

There are 7.1 million people in South Africa living with HIV with the highest prevalence being in Kwa Zulu Natal.

Around 86% of HIV positive people are aware of their HIV status. This is tremendously encouraging.

South Africa has the largest Anti retroviral treatment program in the world with over 60% of all adults living with HIV on ARV’s. This is still way too low where the targets are set for 90%.

What is the life expectancy of HIV positive person in SA

The average life extectancy of an HIV positive person was 67 years in 2017, up from 61 years in 2015.

The awareness and testing campaigns being run in South Africa are certainly making an impact with a greatly improved number of people living with HIV. The number of young women with HIV is of great concern and an area where education and lifestyle choices are not being effectively communicated. Most of the education in transmission and protection against the spread of the HIV virus is directed at Men. Use a condom, get circumsized and other programs have had a great impact on the male infection rate but have not helped young women that much.

For example, transmission rates from older men to young women in “blesser” type relationships are way too high. Is it that young women are not aware of the risks to their health and exposure to HIV or is it that they are aware of the risks but are nprepared to take the risk for the reward that the older “blesser” can offer the younger women.

Perhaps the more aggresive rollout of the PreP program (pre exposure preparation) program will help reduce these numbers. The PreP program is where HIV negative women are provided with ARV’s to protect themselves from contracting HIV while having interactions with HIV positive people. The most encouraging part of the study was that of the 30 000 odd women on the trial, 76% of them kept to the program by taking the ARV’s.

South Africa is making great strides in the management of the population who are living with HIV and the ARV program is something to be proud of.

There does need to be more impact made on making children aware of the dangers of exposure to the HIV virus through unprotected sex.