The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) has applauded UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme for implementing the 90-90-90 UNAIDS strategy and pledged to assist with its roll out.
That’s the word from SANAC Co-Chairperson, Ms Steve Letsike, who congratulated the University for launching the strategy which comes in the aftermath of the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban.
UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme notes that South Africa:
• Is the Global epicentre of HIV, AIDS, STIs and TB infection - with HIV accounting for up to 20% of the world’s 35 million people who live with the disease
• Has over 6,4 million people living with HIV
• Has the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world
• Has an adult prevalence rate of 17.3%
• Has over three million PLHIV on treatment making it the biggest ART programme in the world
• Has 2 363 young women aged between 15 and 24 contracting HIV every week
• Records that nearly 40% of all new HIV infections in the country occur among people aged between 15 and 24
• Records that awareness of HIV and AIDS among students is high, however, knowledge does not necessarily mean change in behavioural practices.
The programme notes that HIV infection fuels the tuberculosis epidemic, with more than 70% of patients co-infected. The highest prevalence of TB infection is among people aged 30 to 39 who are living in townships and informal settlements.
South Africa currently ranks the third highest in the world in terms of the TB burden, with an incidence that has increased by 400% over the past 15 years.
The programme says that while STIs such as syphilis have decreased in most provinces over the past 10 years, the prevalence of herpes simplex, which is a co-factor in the acquisition for HIV, is still high in many sectors of the population.
SANAC’s vision is a long-term one to ensure a healthy life for all South Africans. Its vision is underpinned by the commitment to ZERO new HIV and TB infections, ZERO preventable HIV and TB deaths and ZERO HIV and TB discrimination.
The 90-90-90 strategy aims to ensure that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their status, 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV will be in receipt of sustained ART, and 90% of those receiving ART will have viral suppression.