5,3 million South Africans HIV-positive: survey

A new study by Washington University's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation says 5.3 million South Africans under the age of 50 are HIV-positive. Courtesy of #DSTV403

JOHANNESBURG - A study has found that 5.3 million South Africans under the age of 50 are HIV-positive, a 5% increase over the last 19 years.

The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation looked at a number of people living with the virus across 46 African countries. 

Locally KZN had the highest amount of cases, followed by the Free State while in Johannesburg, nearly 500 000 adults between 15 and 49 are infected.

Steve Letsike from the South African National Aids Council says the data revealed by the study is not surprising.

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"Our reaction to the study that was released, I mean it is expected, details that are out there because the program under the national strategic plan has actually spoken about the increasing number of people living with HIV."

"Evidence will suggest how many people we need to put on treatment. It is finding the people who are HIV positive, so it is the missing cases and the people who are supposed to be on treatment contribute to the increase in that manner", said Letsike.

Letsike says what is a priority now is to ensure that people in the country have access to quality and safe health care.

"We want to ensure that the treatment program does not become disrupted by drug stock-out and many other challenges that we are seeing overtime."