World AIDS Day 2018
What is world AIDS Day?
World AIDS Day is commemorated each year on the 1st of December and is an opportunity for every community to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and remember those who have died.
The aim of this campaign is to ensure that the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS are not violated, and that discrimination on the basis of HIV, AIDS and TB is reduced, and ultimately eliminated.
Over 7 million people living with HIV in SA - StatsSA
The number of AIDS related deaths has been on a consistent decline from 276 921 in 2007 to 115 167 in 2018.
The total number of people living with HIV in South Africa has however increased from an estimated 4.25 million in 2002 to the 7.52 million by 2018. For 2018, approximately one-fifth of women in South Africa in their reproductive ages [15 to 49] are HIV positive, according to StatsSA.
Antiretroviral treatment (ART) availability in South Africa
South Africa has the largest ART programme in the world. In 2018, UNAIDS reported that 4.4 million people were receiving treatment in South Africa. This equates to 61% of the people living with HIV in the country.
HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa
Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death in South Africa. The country has the world's sixth largest tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, with a TB incidence rate of 438,000 in 2016.
The HIV epidemic in South Africa fuels the TB epidemic because people living with HIV are at a far higher risk of developing TB due to weakened immune systems. It is estimated that 60% of people living with HIV in South Africa are also co-infected with TB. In 2016 there were 73,000 HIV/TB deaths.
In light of this, the South African National AIDS council, combined the HIV and STI strategy with the national TB strategy, to improve the integration of these two services. One of the aims of this strategy is to get more people living with HIV on isoniazid preventative therapy, a preventative medicine for TB.
The TB treatment success rate has improved in recent years and stood at 83% in 2016. South Africa plans to complete its National TB Prevalence Survey by the end of 2018.
We cannot fight AIDS unless we do much more to fight TB.
Why get tested for HIV?
Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV.
Knowing your status means you can keep yourself and your sexual partners healthy.
Being diagnosed early gives you a better chance of living a long and healthy life.
It’s quick and easy
Getting an HIV test is quick, easy and almost always free. It's also the only way to know for sure whether or not you have been infected and involves a quick saliva or blood test.
A positive result means you can access treatment
If you do have HIV, being diagnosed at an early stage means that you have a better chance of living a long and healthy life. This is because HIV attacks your immune system. If you're diagnosed early, you can start HIV treatment (antiretroviral drugs) earlier. This will lower the levels of HIV in your body, protect your immune system from damage, and stop you getting ill.
With the right treatment and care, people living with HIV can expect to live as long as the average person, so it’s important to take control of your health by getting a test.
Is HIV testing ever mandatory?
Because choosing to take an HIV test can be hugely beneficial for yourself and your loved ones, the decision to test should be yours alone to make.
For more information or Confidential Professional Counselling contact PROCARE www.procare.co.za