On Sunday, researchers at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta, Georgia announced that they had, for the first time, “functionally” cured a baby born with HIV. A "functional cure" refers to state where a person is AIDS-free without the need for HIV drugs, despite a trace of the virus lingering in the body.
A massive population-based study launched in the Western Cape and Zambia yesterday is aiming to answer the critical question whether testing large populations for HIV and immediately starting those infected on effective antiretroviral treatment programmes, could close the tap on new infections.
The study, HPTN071 (PopART) will aim to find out whether offering a combination of several HIV prevention methods to a community will better prevent the spread of HIV that the standard individual methods currently on offer.
Surveillance data shows an increasing rate of HIV infections among pregnant women in Mpumalanga, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Monday.
Releasing the annual 2011 national antenatal sentinel HIV and syphilis prevalence survey in Pretoria, Motsoaledi said Mpumalanga had shown an increase in estimated HIV prevalence of two percent.
The province had a 34.7 percent prevalence rate in 2009 and the figure has since risen to 36.7 percent, according to the survey compiled by the department of health.
Other increases in prevalence rates were recorded in the Free State, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
South Africa is on track to reach its target of supplying antiretroviral treatment (ARVs) to 2.5 million people by the year 2014, says the Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini.
Dlamini was speaking at the launch of the State of the World Population 2012 report in the sprawling Imizamo Yethu settlement in Cape Town. The report, compiled by the United Nations Population Fund, was released worldwide on Wednesday.
The minister said that the fight against HIV and Aids was having some positive results. The mother-to-child transmission rate had declined from 8 percent in 2008 to 3.5 percent in 2011, "ensuring that annually over 30 000 babies are protected from infection and poor health".
Government’s HIV/AIDS programme is bearing fruit, with fewer deaths now than in 2006. And older people are now dying, not young people in the prime of their lives, according to the Census released yesterday.
The majority of the deaths recorded by the Census were due to natural causes, with just 9.6% of them attributed to unnatural causes. However, the number of people dying in South Africa has decreased since 2006. Statisticians believe that the majority of deaths prior to 2006 were related to the AIDS epidemic and that the onset of the government’s AIDS treatment programme has reduced the mortality figures.
The benefits of medical male circumcision have been proven to also extend to women. It has been shown that female partners of men who are circumcised have a less risk of contracting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.
South Africa’s health clinics are congested with thousands of patients burdened with the diseases of HIV, TB, and other infections.
Days after US officials gave unprecedented approval for the use of an antiretroviral drug by HIV-negative people to reduce the risk of their acquiring the HI virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidance to governments on so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
WHO's guidelines, which call for a cautious and gradual roll-out, will likely see many countries begin to add PrEP to the growing arsenal of tools in the fight against HIV.
There has been a glaring absence of awareness and appropriate action internationally to address the link between intimate-partner dysfunctionality and HIV infection. Yet the reality is that intimate-partner violence is a hidden driver of the HIV epidemic, increasing psychosocial distress, risky sexual behaviour and sexually transmitted infections.
South Africa will increasingly move towards nurse-initiated treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the next five years, and a programme in KwaZulu-Natal Province, which has a high HIV/TB burden, is already training nurses to manage MDR-TB patients.
Faced with a chronic shortage of doctors, South Africa moved to nurse-initiated antiretroviral treatment (NiMart) in April 2010. Now, government plans to roll out nurse-initiated MDR-TB treatment, and to make it and NiMart available at all primary healthcare, antenatal, TB and mobile outreach clinics by 2016, according to the National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs [sexually transmitted infections] and TB.