n South African Medical Journal - A South African decade of antiretrovirals

Volume 104, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



It is hard not to call the last decade of antiretroviral (ARV) access anything other than a public health, human rights and political success. South African life expectancy has increased by a decade, almost entirely due to effective HIV treatment. The arrest of mother-to-child transmission is one of the most celebrated public health programmes in the country, with transmission rates a fraction of what they were. HIV testing and condom usage rates are among the highest in the world. There are data to suggest that new HIV infection rates are going down and that the 2007 National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS goal of reducing new incidence by 50% is within reach. This may be due to a combination of condom access, antiretroviral therapy transmission arrest, or simply the natural trajectory of all infectious diseases, but seemed unattainable just a few years ago.

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