Marcus Low

There’s a hole in the middle of our AIDS programme

There is a big hole in the middle of South Africa’s HIV treatment programme that is undermining government’s remarkable achievements since 2009, when AIDS denialist President Thabo Mbeki was kicked out.

This hole is called medicine stock-outs. It is caused mainly by poor management, and no matter how good our national programme and health minister are, unless the implementers – the provinces – can improve health service delivery, we will not only fail to overcome HIV but we stand to develop a monster called drug-resistant HIV.

Staying alive: Is South Africa's Aids plan working?

South Africa has one of the world's highest HIV rates but for many years was accused of ignoring the problem. Two years ago, President Jacob Zuma introduced some radical changes to the country's Aids policy. To marks World Aids Day, the BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg asks what has changed.

Moses Sechedi lives in Soweto, one of South Africa's biggest townships.

Outside the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital - the largest hospital in Africa - Mr Sechedi, 62, tells me that he has seen the benefits of the new policy.

"A few months ago, my younger sister became gravely ill and we rushed her to hospital. After a number of tests the doctor told us she had Aids," he says.

Why HIV is still winning

In one sense, the fight against HIV sounds painfully simple: just get people to stop having unprotected sex. Making this happen, though, is proving extremely complicated. From prostitution in informal settlements, to misleading statements by our leaders, and the dangerous consequences of men having multiple wives and lovers, the factors driving the sexual transmission of HIV are many and varied.