News / Africa

South Africa: At Least 5 Million New HIV Infections Expected Over next 20 years

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

A new report says South Africa can expect to have at least five million new HIV infections over the next 20 years.  That’s nearly the same number of people currently living with the disease in the country.

The report was released by the aids2031 South Africa Project.  It outlines for the first time Africa’s “difficult long-term choices and escalating costs” in battling the epidemic.

Collaborating on the findings were the Cape Town-based Center for the Economic Governance on AIDS in Africa and the Washington-based Results for Development Institute.

Robert Hecht, one of the authors and also managing director of the Results for Development Institute, says, “For South Africa, five million infections over the next 20 years is going to be a heavy toll, a heavy burden.”

It translates, he says, into 250,000 new HIV infections every year.

“You have to remember South Africa is a country that already has nearly six million people that are HIV positive,” he says.

Best-case scenario

Hecht warns, though, things could become much worse.

South Africa: At Least 5 Million New HIV Infections Expected Over next 20 years
South Africa: At Least 5 Million New HIV Infections Expected Over next 20 years

“The scenario or the future where there are five million new infections is actually an optimistic scenario because we also explored in our work with the South Africans possibilities for the future that are much worse.  If South Africa were to basically maintain its prevention and treatment programs at the levels where they are today, there could be as many as 11 million new infections over the next two decades,” he says.

The report says South Africa currently has about 500,000 new infections every year.

What needs to be done

Hecht says to keep new HIV infections as low as possible the South African government needs to maintain the political will over the pandemic that it’s shown in recent years.

“Secondly,” he says, “there’s going to need to be some leadership and efforts to promote social change in South Africa, so that some of the underlying sexual behaviors that are spreading HIV can change gradually.”

What’s more, the report calls on the government to take a long-term view on the money it spends on HIV/AIDS, rather than taking a “crisis approach.”

Hecht says, “It’s going to have to look carefully at how it can spend its money better.  Target that money on the prevention services that are going to be most effective; and make sure that its treatment program, which is already the largest in the world, is absolutely as efficient as possible.”

There are about one million people in South Africa receiving anti-retroviral drugs.

The cost

Holding the expected number of new infections won’t come cheap.  South Africa currently spends about (US)$2 billion annually on HIV/AIDS.

Hecht says that figure will “need to rise very dramatically over the next eight to 10 years.  We estimate in our report that under this maximum effort scenario, the one that would bring down the epidemic most rapidly, South Africa’s total spending would have to more than double…to somewhere between $4 and $5 billion.”

While South Africa would have to pay for most of the new AIDS funding, support would probably be needed from PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Hecht says the discovery of a highly effective vaccine would be a “game changer.”  However, he adds, “We don’t see on the horizon in the next few years…such a vaccine coming along.  So, while we need to keep investing in that area, it’s not something that’s going to have an impact on the epidemic in South Africa in the next five or 10 years.”

You May Like

Sambisa Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

Islamic State Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are a notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to the Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs