Africa Map

African Press Agency

African Press Agency Logo

 Country Profile
 Useful Links
 Contact us


[Published: Thursday June 11 2009]

South Africa's fight against Aids stems tide

Pretoria, 10 June-(ANA)-South Africa could be about to turn the corner in its long and politically treacherous fight against Aids, a report has found.

The number of new HIV infections among the country's teenagers has dropped significantly due to condom use, giving rare hope to the country with the world's biggest HIV-positive population.

"There is clearly light at the end of the tunnel," said Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, the health minister. "There is real light."

New infections among 18-year-olds halved between 2005 and 2008 to 0.8%, according to the survey by South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council.

In 20-year-olds it dropped from 2.2% to 1.7%. Olive Shisana, one of the authors of the report, said this was because of an increase in condom use among young males aged between 15 and 24, from 57% in 2002 to 87% in 2008. In females of the same age there was also an increase of condom use, from 46% to 73%.

"The finding shows that although more young people are running around, they are doing it with a condom," she said.

The report also said that HIV prevalence in children between two and 14 fell from 5.6% in 2002 to 2.5% last year, mainly thanks to the spread of drugs to prevent women passing on the virus to their children.

During nearly 10 years of neglect new HIV infections reached a peak of 1,000, with nearly 1,000 deaths from Aids every day.

The council's report estimated that around 5.2 million South Africans were living with HIV last year. This is widely regarded as a disastrous legacy of former president Thabo Mbeki, who questioned the link between HIV and the disease, and his health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who mistrusted conventional anti-AIDS drugs and promoted beetroot and lemon.

Motsoaledi, a respected medical doctor who became health minister last month, said: "Unfortunately we spent a lot of time fighting each other.

"I am quite sure that we are going to stop fighting each other and start fighting the disease. I am hoping that in the next few years the results will be much more encouraging than this."

Young women continue to bear the brunt of the epidemic, according to the survey of 20,826 people. Nearly one third of women aged 20 to 34 are infected with the virus. (ANA)

FA/ANA/10 June 2009---






North South News website

Advertise banner

News icon Tourism Index/2024
News icon Africa/Death Penalty
News icon Colombia/Drug Seizure
News icon BOXING/Usyk-Fury Rematch
News icon Israel/Rafah Invasion
News icon Pakistan/Justice
News icon BrazilFloods
News icon IMF/China Growth
News icon Eurojust/Smuggling
News icon UK/Drug Traffickers

AFRICAN PRESS AGENCY Copyright © 2005 - 2007