Situational Analysis of Hiv in South Africa

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Date Submitted: 06/10/2013 06:01 PM

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After more than twenty five years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic1, the need for new measures with which to combat HIV infection remains urgent. Approximately 33.2 M people throughout the world are living with HIV2 and an estimated 25 M have died from it3.

South Africa is currently experiencing one of the most severe AIDS epidemics in the world. At the close of 2007, there were approximately 5.7 M people living with HIV in South Africa with almost 1,000 AIDS deaths occurring every day4. Almost half of all deaths in South Africa (47%), and a staggering 71% of deaths among those aged between 15 and 49 years are caused by AIDS5.


Within a country there may be a series of multiple, changing and overlapping micro-epidemics, each with its own nature, dynamics and characteristics. South Africa has an HIV prevalence of 18.8%6; this overwhelming HIV prevalence can be attributed to the period between 1993 and 2000, when the focus was on South Africa’s transition from apartheid and the growing HIV incidence was largely ignored7. The South African context, at the time, was that of a newly democratic society, emerging from a history of social disruption and racial and gender discrimination, associated with inequitable distribution of resources which massively disadvantaged the population8.

The HIV epidemic in South Africa is interlinked with epidemics occurring in neighbouring countries. South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana reported the highest antenatal HIV prevalence levels in the world in 20068. The severity of the epidemic is closely linked to the region’s poverty, the relative lack of empowerment amongst women, high rates of male worker migration, and other social and cultural factors8. Even with knowledge of how to protect oneself from infection, such information may not always be implementable in daily situations of economic and social disadvantage that characterise the lives of many young people and women...