HIV :: HIV prevalence trends in South Africa

The findings of a South Africa survey show evidence of a decline in HIV prevalence in South Africa after several years of relative stability, reported by Department of Health, South Africa.

“National HIV and Syphilis Prevalence Survey, South Africa, 2006,” Department of Health, South Africa: This new report, based on antenatal surveys conducted in all nine provinces in South Africa, finds national HIV prevalence among pregnant women was 29.1% in 2006, down from 30.2% in 2005.

The 2006 antenatal survey was conducted to estimate the prevalence of HIV infection the antenatal survey was conducted in all nine provinces using the standard unlinked anonymous methodology (WHO/UNAIDS). To enhance the sensitivity of the estimates and to provide greater robustness the HIV sample size was expanded in 2006 to provide (for the first time) prevalence estimates for each district in the country in addition to the national and provincial rates. A total of 33033 women participated from 1415 health facilities (in comparison to 16510 participants in 2005).

The main findings of this survey are as follows:

1. HIV national HIV prevalence amongst women in the survey stands at 29.1%. This is compared to 30.2% in 2005.

2. The 2006 estimate represents a statistically significant reduction on HIV prevalence between 2005 and 2006.

3. The HIV prevalence rates have been stable (not increasing nor decreasing for several years, this is the first evidence of a decline in the SA epidemic)

4. HIV prevalence in the <20 year olds is now at 13.7% in comparison to an estimated rate of 15.9% in 2005. This is a statistically significant decline. 5. The decline in the <20 year age group particularly implies a reduction in new infections (incidence) in the population. 6. Similarly HIV prevalence in the 20-24year age group stands at 28.0% in comparison to 30.6% in the previous year. Again this represents a significant decline. 7. HIV prevalence in older age groups (30 ? 34, 35 ? 39. 40+) is a concern as it remains at similar levels with a tendency towards an increase. These increases are however not statistically significant. This study has provided the first the status of HIV prevalence in South Africa for 2006. For the first time, the findings of this survey show evidence of a decline in HIV prevalence in South Africa after several years of relative stability.

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