South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey, 2012

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If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at researchoutputs@hsrc.ac.za.

Abstract

The report covers the epidemiology of HIV from both social and biomedical points of view, providing us not only with statistical data on HIV prevalence, HIV incidence and antiretroviral treatment (ART) exposure, but also socio-behavioural and structural aspects that contribute to the spread of HIV infections in the population. This information is necessary and assists key stakeholders in the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) in developing interventions to curb the epidemic. This is a most comprehensive report on HIV, based on laboratory results and interviews in a representative cross-section of the population, including all ages, males and females, race groups, locality types and provinces. It provides a concise synopsis of the epidemic, presented through a thoroughly researched lens. In this research report, the authors find that this country has succeeded in rolling out treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS. It is also reported that knowledge levels have declined, accompanied by increased risky sexual behaviours. The finding that there are still high rates of new HIV infections occurring in the country is of concern and requires that we double our efforts to prevent new infections. The high incidence among young women aged 15-24 years is troubling and calls on us to address the associated social factors such as age-disparate relationships. The continued high HIV prevalence and incidence in the black African population, particularly among females aged 20-34 years and males aged 25-49 years, is a serious call for us to design and implement targeted interventions for these groups, over and above the comprehensive interventions for the population at large. The researchers also show us that people in informal areas of the country continue to be most-at-risk of HIV, with the highest HIV incidence compared to those living in other areas. This suggests that a strong multi-sectoral approach is necessary if we want to address socio-economic challenges that continue to fuel the epidemic.