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
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,
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
be a contributing factor. Other factors may include higher mortality
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
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
Africa. This has tremendous impact on the social fabric of the country and
economy, as this age category represents the youngest portion of our
class. Knowing ones 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
voluntary testing and counselling for HIV, as a means to effectively
As we loose breadwinners, child survival is re-emerging as one of the
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
survival of an HIV infected child will be complicated by the fact that
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,
our partnerships against AIDS, both national and international, redouble our
to prevent the further spread of the disease, and to provide care and
those infected and affected by it.