This is an archive of the Treatment Action Campaign's public documents from December 1998 until October 2008. I created this website because the TAC's website appears unmaintained and people were concerned that it
was becoming increasingly hard to find important documents.

The menu items have been slightly edited and a new stylesheet applied to the site. But none of the documents have been edited, not even for minor errors. The text appears on this site as obtained from the Internet Archive.

The period covered by the archive encompassed the campaign for HIV medicines, the civil disobedience campaigns, the Competition Commission complaints, the 2008 xenophobic violence and the PMTCT, Khayelitsha health workers and Matthias Rath court cases.


                  Good morning ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Department of Health, and
                  thank you for coming here at such short notice.
                  The National HIV Sero-prevalence Survey of Women attending public antenatal
                  clinics in South Africa, is a yearly survey.  The Directorate Health Systems
                  Research, Research Co-ordination and Epidemiology have conducted it, since
                  The epidemiological profile shows that HIV continues to be a very serious
                  problem in South Africa.
                  The national HIV prevalence rate for 1999 is 22.4%.
                  This is substantially the same as the 1998 rate, which was 22.8%.  This
                  means that
                  both fall within the same confidence limits.
                  From the study findings we estimated that there were approximately 4.2
                  people infected with HIV in South Africa at the end of 1999.
                  Women in their twenties continue to have the highest HIV prevalence rates.
                 is a trend towards slightly lower HIV prevalence rates amongst teenage girls
                1999 than there were in 1998.  On the other hand HIV prevalence was slightly
                 higher in the 30 to 34 year old group and in the 35 to 39 year old group.
                 HIV prevalence has increased in five provinces.
                Three provinces namely, KwaZulu Natal, Northern Cape and Northern Province
                 have prevalence rates that have not increased from 1998.  The 1999 findings
                 suggest that South Africa may be seeing a shift in the epidemiological
                 profile of HIV,
                 in which a small degree of ‘stabilisation’ may be occurring.  In essence,
                 this means
                 that there is not a generalised HIV increase in all geographic areas.
                 Stabilisation does not necessarily mean that fewer cases of HIV infection
                 occurring, or that there is necessarily a change in HIV incidence, though
                 this may
                 be a contributing factor.  Other factors may include higher mortality
                 amongst HIV
                 infected individuals, fewer pregnancies amongst women with HIV and so on.
                 supporting data and HIV incidence studies are required to confirm the
                 Over the years, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, for example, have
                 consistently remained at the extreme ends of HIV prevalence levels.  While
                 from the 1999 antenatal HIV survey confirm these trends, they also
                 underscore the
                 fact that our attention needs to be drawn not as much to the levels of HIV
                as to the pace at which the epidemic is progressing within provinces.
                Hence, although KwaZulu-Natal remains the province with the highest
                rate, no increase is shown in this province between 1998 and 1999.  In
                the Western Cape, whilst remaining the province with the lowest level of
                shows a 36.5% increase from 5.2% in 1998 to 7.1% in 1999.
                People in their twenties constitute more than 50% of the infected population
                in South
                Africa.  This has tremendous impact on the social fabric of the country and
                on its
                economy, as this age category represents the youngest portion of our
                class. Knowing one’s HIV status has been proven (with appropriate support
                counselling) to change behavioural risk in favour of safer sex practices.
                In the light of this, we need to encourage people of all age categories to
                go for
                voluntary testing and counselling for HIV, as a means to effectively
                promoting safe
                sex practices.
                As we loose breadwinners, child survival is re-emerging as one of the
                critical areas
                of care and support.  It is also arising, not only as a health issue, but
                very much as a
                welfare and social problem too.  It can therefore only be successfully dealt
                through inter-sectoral collaboration and social mobilisation, as in many
                cases the
                survival of an HIV infected child will be complicated by the fact that
                he/she would
                also be an orphan.
                The figures for the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in our country are a very serious
                 for government.  We will, through the South African National AIDS Council,
                 and all
                 our partnerships against AIDS, both national and international, redouble our
                 to prevent the further spread of the disease, and to provide care and
                support for
                those infected and affected by it.

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