About 2 000 young women aged between15 to 24 get infected with HIV each week in South Africa. Government and the South African National Aids Council revealed this at a media briefing in Pretoria ahead of the 21st International Aids Conference in Durban later this month.
This is government’s biggest challenge as it tackles the HIV pandemic. Currently, there are 6.8 million HIV positive people in the country with 3.4 million of them on antiretroviral treatment.
Government spends R23 billion each year to fight HIV/Aids.
The council’s Dr Fareed Abdullah says: “We spend more money on HIV in this country than the global fund spends in the whole of Africa each year. The R23 billion as is made up of 80% of it from government with a good split of about 60-40 from the national conditional grant and then provinces also make contributions especially to TB expenditure but the US government through it’s PEPFAR funding and the Global Fund through it’s 3 year grants make up the 20%.”
Meanwhile the National Health Department has resolved to issue antiretroviral treatment to HIV positive people without checking their CD4 count.
Previously patients would have to have a CD4 count of 500 before being put on antiretroviral treatment. This was a slight increase compared to the initial 200 CD4 count prerequisite before being put on the treatment.
The 21st International Aids Conference will take place in Durban from the 18th to the 22nd of July. It aims to come up with measures to have an Aids free generation by 2030.
However the stigma of HIV remains one of the main challenges for people living with HIV and Aids around the world.
The exhibition “Through Positive Eyes” will use photographs, video and narratives, as documented by people who live with HIV Aids.