Govt to release national HIV Prevalence Survey

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pretoria - Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi will on Monday publicly release the results of the 2008 National Antenatal Sentinel HIV Prevalence Survey.

The data is one of the key epidemiological tools used by the Department of Health to monitor trends in the epidemic in the country.

The survey has been conducted annually in South Africa since 1990 and is one of the most robust HIV surveillance methods. It targets antenatal women aged 15 to 49 during their first booking at an antenatal care facility in the public health sector.

According to government's Development Indicators 2009, the 2007 antenatal survey reflected a one percent reduction in HIV prevalence between 2006 and 2007 and a 2 percent reduction between 2005 and 2007.

This success was attributed to voluntary counseling and testing and prevention of mother to child transmission services which were provided in more than 95 percent of health facilities.

The provision of Anti Retroviral Therapy (ARVs) to more than 630 775 patients by November 2008 also played a role in the reduction of HIV prevalence in the period.

An international report released this week indicated that South Africa's HIV and AIDS programmes were starting to show major signs of advancement.

The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), released the "Towards Universal Access: Scaling up Priority HIV/AIDS Interventions in the Health Sector" report on Wednesday.

It found that the National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2007 - 2011 was one of the largest treatment coverage programmes in the world, with South Africa ranked second in the world in terms of domestic spending on AIDS programmes.

Motsoaledi will be joined in the release of the survey by a number of academics and researchers who participated in the peer review exercise.