Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo and Premier Alan Winde Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – The number of people living with HIV in the Western Cape is estimated at 8.9%, with the adoption and implementation of the UNAids 90-90-90 Strategy having strengthened the focus on HIV testing and treatment.

According to the provincial Health Department, during 2018/19, 1.7 million people in the province were tested for HIV, up from 1.38 million in 2015/16.

Of the estimated population living with HIV/Aids in 2017/18, 93.9% were aware of their HIV status, and 60.3% were on life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Of those on ART, 80.4% had achieved suppression of the HI-virus with reduced risk of infecting others.

The statistics were highlighted on World Aids Day, commemorated yesterday under the theme: “Communities make the Difference”.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said the department had made considerable progress in addressing HIV and Aids over the past 20 years, with increased life expectancy and lowered HIV-related mortality rates.

The implementation of the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Programme had seen transmission of HIV reduced to 0.2%.

Yesterday, Deputy President David Mabuza in his capacity as the chairperson of the SA National Aids Council delivered a keynote address at the World Aids Day National Commemoration event at the James Motlatsi Stadium, Orkney, Klerksdorp, in North West province.

The government has said it has been relentless in its mission to turn the HIV, Aids and TB epidemics around, and that there were notable achievements to celebrate.

The Department of Health will on Wednesday launch a new and improved combination treatment for HIV.

Meanwhile, the City’s health department, which partnered with the Anova Health Institute in June, is supporting 26 “Siyenza” sites, or high burden primary health-care facilities in Cape Town.

“Early indications are that the partnership has made a difference, but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels,” said mayco member for community services, Zahid Badroodien.

“Ultimately, it’s up to each person to take responsibility for their health and that of their loved ones. I therefore urge residents who have not tested for HIV in the last year to make use of the numerous opportunities to do so, which exist year round. 

"Patients who need to start or restart antiretroviral treatment can make an appointment at any clinic that’s convenient for them, whether close to their place of work or home,” he added.

Cape Times