S. Africa has highest HIV prevalence rate in world: report

CAPE TOWN, July 31 (Xinhua) — The estimated overall HIV prevalence rate is approximately 12.6 percent among the South African population, the highest prevalence in the world, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Monday.

The total number of people living with HIV is estimated at approximately 7.06 million in 2017, Stats SA said in its mid-year population estimates for 2017.

For adults aged 15-49 years, an estimated 18.0 percent of the population is HIV positive, according to Stats SA.

South Africa also has the world’s biggest HIV treatment program covering over 3.4 million people.

The expansion of health programs related to HIV has contributed to a decline in deaths due to communicable diseases such as HIV and TB, Statis SA said.

Focus now lies on programs to combat the increase in deaths due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, etc., particularly among those aged 65 and older, the agency said.

To curb HIV prevalence, the government has launched the 90-90-90 plan.

Under the plan, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status by 2020. The same year, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. The government also intend to ensure that 90 percent of all HIV positive people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

The government believes the new measure will stop the transmission of HIV and also lengthen the life expectancy to 70 by 2030.

Life expectancy at birth for 2017 is estimated at 61.2 years for males and 66.7 years for females, according to Statis SA.

South Africa population has reached 56. 52 million for 2017, the agency said.