A report released by the Human Sciences Research Council into HIV prevalence and incidence in South Africa showed a significant decline in new infections in 2017, compared with a similar survey five years ago.
But more concerning for researchers was the occurrence of risky behaviour among respondents. It found consistent condom use was low, early sexual debuts before the age of 15 had increased among males, and more than a third of young women had sex with older men.
“This suggests that progress is being made in increasing ART (antiretroviral treatment) coverage. However, more needs to be done to link those who test HIV-positive to care as soon as they are tested, in line with the policy of test and treat,” said Dr Sizulu Moyo of the HIV/Aids, STIs and TB research centre.
The survey found there has been a significant decline in the HIV incidence rate at 0.48%. This translated to an estimated 231 100 new infections in 2017. The incidence rate was generally higher among females aged 15 to 24, where the number of new infections was three times that of their male counterparts.