HIV/Aids

06 October 2009

HIV caseload too high: Motsoaledi

The number of HIV positive pregnant women in South Africa has stabilised at 29%, but among expecting mothers in their early 30s the rate was still 40%.

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The number of HIV positive pregnant women in South Africa has stabilised at 29%, but among expecting mothers in their early 30s the rate was still 40%, a government study said Monday.

The overall rate among pregnant women declined by just 0.1 points to 29.3%, but infections rose slightly among women in their 20s to 37.9%. For women aged 30 to 34, the rate jumps to 40.4%.

"We seem to be losing the battle, but not yet the war," health minister Aaron Motsoaledi said at the release of the 2008 results in which nearly 40,000 women participated. "The prevalence among women aged 25 years and above has stabilised at high and unacceptable levels," he said.

The virus, which infects just over one in 10 South Africans, continued to be one of the country's biggest challenges, Motsoaledi said.

The survey - carried out in state hospitals and clinics - is used as a benchmark by the government which runs the world's largest Aids treatment programme after years of failing to act timeously against the disease. - (Sapa, October 2009)

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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