South Africa has made significant strides in HIV prevention and treatment in the past decade. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV being has dropped to 1.5% – as many of 30% of HIV-infected mothers transmitted the virus to their babies in the early 2000s. The latest rate is lower than the national target of 2%, according to the 10th edition of the
District Health Barometer, an annual publication that provides a detailed breakdown of public health services in the country.
The publication, which was released by the research organisation, Health Systems Trust, in Pretoria on Tuesday, also notes that 91% of HIV-positive pregnant women in government clinics are on antiretroviral therapy – “the highest level since 2011/12”.
Maternal mortality downThere has also been a slight decrease in the national institutional maternal mortality ratio – the number of women in health facilities who died during pregnancy, child birth or 42 days thereafter. The institutional maternal mortality ratio in 2014/15 was 132.5 per 100 000 births, down from 133.3 per 100 000 live births. This is, however, still higher than the national target of 100 per 100 000.
Authors of the publication believe that this marginal decrease “is mainly related to a decrease in the number of deaths from non-pregnancy-related infections, including HIV-related deaths. The number of maternal deaths with HIV as the underlying cause is expected to decrease further with more HIV-positive pregnant women on antiretroviral treatment,” the
Health Barometer states
HIV spreadAn estimated 6.8 million people in South Africa are HIV positive. Although there has been a momentous increase in access to treatment, the publication notes with concern the continuing spread of HIV. “There were 469 000 new infections recorded at the end of 2012, with particularly high incidence levels among young women aged 15–24 years. Fuelling the spread of the disease is the reported decline in knowledge levels about HIV, and an increase in risky sexual behaviour.”
According to the
District Health Barometer, South Africa has a high incidence of both HIV and tuberculosis (TB). It is the leading cause of death in people with HIV. The World Health Organisation estimates that people with HIV are between 20 and 32 times more likely to develop TB than those without HIV.
Other findings of the
District Health Barometer include:
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