Updated 11 February 2014

New HIV infections halve to fewer than 1000 a day in SA

Approximately 1000 people get infected with HIV daily in South Africa. High as this may seem, the figure has decreased by more than 50% since 1999.

This is according to the latest South Africa Survey, published by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) in Johannesburg last week.
The Survey is the annual yearbook on all social, economic, and political aspects of South Africa that the IRR has been publishing since 1946.
Past statistics

In 1999 there were 646 806 new infections, the equivalent of 1 772 a day. By 2013, new infections had decreased to 321 300, the equivalent of 880 a day.
The data was sourced from the ASSA2008 AIDS and Demographic Model published by the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA).

Living with HIV

400 million condoms distributed

Ms Lerato Moloi, head of research at the IRR, attributed the decrease in new HIV infections to a number of interventions including awareness programmes, condom distribution, and male circumcision.

‘The Department of Health (DoH) distributed almost 400 million condoms, both male and female, in 2011/12. It is quite important that the condoms are not only distributed but also used. It is therefore quite encouraging that the National HIV Communication Survey, published by the DoH, shows that condom use at first sex went up from 18% to 66% between 1996 and 2012. This is an important indicator because those who use condoms at first sex are more likely to use them throughout their lives’, Ms Moloi said.
In addition, the DoH has embarked on a campaign to circumcise as many men as possible through the public health system as research has shown that this can reduce men’s risk of contracting HIV by up to 76%.

Circumcision is expected to prevent one million new infections in South Africa by 2025.

Read more:
HIV rates stabilising?
Newborn HIV rates in Gauteng plummet


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

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