HIV Prevalence In South Africa Declines Among Pregnant Women
The national HIV prevalence among pregnant women in South Africa hasdecreased for the first time in eight years, according to a reportofficially released last week by the country's Department of Health, Reutersreports. The report's findings might indicate a possible decline inHIV/AIDS prevalence among the country's entire population, according toHealth Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang (Felix/Zigomo, Reuters, 8/2).
Thereport, based on antenatal surveys conducted in all nine provinces inSouth Africa, found national HIV prevalence among pregnant women was29.1% in 2006, down from 30.2% in 2005. The report also showedstatistically significant declines in HIV prevalence among peopleyounger than age 20 - from 15.9% to 13.7% -- as well as ages 20 to 24 -from 30.6% to 28% (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/25). The report is based on results from a survey with 33,000 women who visited antenatal clinics in 2006 (Jacobson, AP/Washington Post, 8/2).
Prevalenceamong women ages 30 to 34, 35 to 39, and 40 and older increased, butnot by a statistically significant margin, according to the report(Adams, IOL/Star,8/3). The decline in prevalence among people under age 20 "implies areduction in new infections (incidence) in the population," accordingto the report. "For the first time, the findings of this survey showevidence of a decline in HIV prevalence in South Africa after severalyears of relative stability," the report notes (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report,6/25). According to Tshabalala-Msimang, the report's findings indicatethat young people in South Africa are changing their behavior andincreasingly adhering to the principles of condom use, faithfulness andabstinence, Reuters reports (Reuters, 8/2).
LindiweMakubalo, chief director for monitoring and evaluation at the healthdepartment, said the trend would need to be observed carefully forconfirmation in the next three years. From the report, the healthdepartment was able to determine that the number of people estimated tobe HIV-positive in the country is about 5.41 million, compared with theprevious estimate of 5.54 million. Overall HIV prevalence among peopleages 15 to 49 is estimated at 18.34%, according to the IOL/Star (IOL/Star, 8/3).
Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and signup for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.