Survey finds that 500 000 adults are living with HIV in Joburg

Survey finds that 500 000 adults are living with HIV in Joburg

A new survey has found that nearly one in five South African adults are living with HIV, a 5% increase from 2000. Despite this, pharmacologist Andy Gray says that he doesn't feel the epidemic is getting worse, with more people managing to live with the virus for longer.

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A recently released study has found that 5.3 million locals under the age of 50 are HIV-positive, seeing an increase over the last 19 years.

The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation ( IHME) recently published their attempt to break down the number of people living with the virus across 46 African countries.

While South Africa's HIV prevalence rate was higher than most other countries, Wits professor Francois Venter explained that antiretroviral therapy was helping people to live longer with the virus.

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Andy Gray, a pharmacologist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, agreed, commenting that:

“I do not think SA’s epidemic is getting worse. Prevalence would also be expected to increase as mortality drops because of antiretroviral therapy. More persons living with HIV are living longer. The more important figure is the incidence, or the number of new cases.”

KwaZulu-Natal district uMgungundlovu had the highest prevalence, with 29.7% of adults living with the virus in Pietermaritzburg. In Johannesburg, nearly 500 000 adults between 15 and 49 had been infected.

By province, KZN had the highest amount of cases at 24%, followed by the Free State with 21.3%, Mpumalanga came in at 20.9%, Northern Cape had 11.5%, Limpopo with 13.2% and the Western Cape came in with the lowest amount with just 10% of adults living with the virus.

The study had aimed to highlight the extent of the epidemic in the face of decreasing funding, reports TimesLIVE.

IHME's Dr Laura Dwyer-Lindgren, assistant professor with Health Metrics Sciences, commented that:

“Global funding for HIV/AIDS has declined since 2013, but our research shows the substantial burden that still exists and reveals where geographically targeted interventions might make a big difference.”

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