News and analysis

#COP28: The spread of HIV has slowed down over the past 30 years. Will...

Experts at COP28 have warned that the climate crisis threatens to put us back in the fight against HIV. Floods and droughts will make it harder to adhere to daily treatment and to access HIV prevention medication, and will increase the demand for transactional sex.

#COP28: ‘You’re negotiating with our health’ — WHO

Health is high on this year’s COP28 agenda, with 65 health ministers attending the world’s most important climate conference. The World Health Organisation is pushing for ministers to get their governments to endorse a declaration that asks countries to commit to deal with the effects of changing weather patterns on people’s health.

Why climate change makes pollution and lung diseases worse

Dirty air makes it hard to breathe. Add hotter days or extreme cold into the mix and it will become harder still, especially for people who already have lung problems. In the latest episode of Health Beat, Mia Malan spoke to Caradee Wright, a public health specialist at the Medical Research Council, about what climate change will mean for people who already struggle to breathe, and what can be done about it.

From start to finish: Five lessons for making mRNA jabs

The global rise in tuberculosis cases is showing no signs of slowing down. The need for a new vaccine is as urgent as ever, and now a local pharmaceutical company is joining the race to find one. Find out more about the work they did to propel themselves into this position.

Slash the price by three-quarters — government on anti-HIV jab

The health department says ViiV Healthcare’s non-profit price for their anti-HIV jab, CAB-LA, is four times what it can pay. In 2022, just over 164 200 people in South Africa became newly infected with HIV. Can we afford to go without the shot?

Can we stop TB from killing people? The world’s largest gathering kicks off

In Paris today, experts on lung health from across the globe are coming together at The Union’s World Conference on Lung Health to talk about how TB research can help to thwart one of the planet’s top killers. We’ve put together a collection of our most recent coverage on TB to help you be part of the conversation

Dirty air & diabetes: Scientists say there’s a link

A seven-year study across 12 000 people in two Indian cities shows that breathing in dirty city air for as little as one month can raise blood sugar levels. After a year of this, people have a higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes.

Making the case: Why poor mental health flags the need for HIV testing

To help South Africa wipe out HIV by 2030, the country focuses on getting people who have a big chance of getting or spreading HIV access to testing and treatment. Researchers say that people with serious mental illnesses should be added to the list of these key populations in South Africa. Learn more.

Yes or no? Here’s what SA says sexual consent means

From kissing to final base, people have to say yes before you can go on. We asked people in South Africa what consent means to them, and what influences their decisions.

Gaza resident: ‘I am weak, I am vulnerable. But I want to live’

Over 5 000 Palestinians have died since October 7, when an attack by the armed group Hamas killed around 1 400 Israelis, and led to heavy retaliation. A 35-year-old civilian in Gaza details life under siege.

Over a million SAs have used the HIV prevention pill

More than a million public healthcare users in South Africa had started to use the HIV prevention pill by the end of May, with over half doing so in the past two years, health department data shows. But what must we do to make the pill — and a two-monthly HIV prevention injection — easier to get?

Should nurses be allowed to hand out psychiatric drugs?

People with HIV have a big chance of battling with mental health problems. At the moment though, only doctors can prescribe psychiatric medicines. Could getting nurses to do this too help people with HIV to stay on their treatment, and so get infection rates down? Mia Malan finds out from a doctor who’s lived through HIV with his patients for the past 20 years.

The waiting game: Could SA’s poor policies be behind our organ donation crisis?

In South Africa, the demand for donor organs far outstrips the supply — not because people aren’t signing up for donation, but rather because there aren’t policies in place to manage the transplant chain. Spain, though, has managed to fix the problem in their country. Can we learn from them?

A spritz in time could save nine: Should schools have anti-overdose drugs at hand?

To help keep kids safe from drug overdoses, lawmakers in the US state of Colorado say schools can have an anti-overdose medicine in their emergency kit — and are making it available cheaply or even for free. But not all schools are signing up. Here’s why.

What HIV does to your brain — and how ARVs halt that

Left untreated, an HIV infection can cause inflammation in someone’s brain and lead to mental health problems. But antiretrovirals can stop it from happening. Mia Malan finds out how it works in this Health Beat interview.

Down for the count: Why are Nepalese migrant workers struggling to make babies?

Nepalese men who go abroad for better jobs, often find that they struggle to build a family when they get back home. Fertility experts weigh in on the link between migration labour and infertility.