Fight against HIV and AIDS in South Africa
The HIV and AIDS pandemic is currently one of the most challenging global public health issues. Although all continents have been affected, Sub-Saharan Africa has suffered more than any other region from these diseases : 70% of the 35.3 million HIV-positive people worldwide are Sub-Saharan Africans and 17% are South African (UNAIDS data for 2012).
With 6.1 million people living with HIV, South Africa has the largest HIV-positive population in the world. The national prevalence is over 10.6% and reaches 17.9% of the adult population between 15-49 years. UNAIDS estimated that 370.00 new HIV infections occurred in 2012 with 240.000 deaths due to AIDS. The HIV pandemic is closely linked with the Tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. WHO estimated 500.000 new cases of active TB in 2011. It is worlwide the third highest TB incidence of any country after India and China, and it is estimated that about 330.000 (66%) people have both HIV and TB infection.
Despite considerable improvement in the recent years highlighted by UNAIDS, due to the commitment of the civil society and the government, the epidemic remains serious. The disease is not only a major health crisis but also a heavy burden on the country’s socioeconomic development. Fighting HIV/AIDS remains therefore a top priority of the South African government.