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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid