world aids day

World AIDS Day: Fact-checking the HIV stigma in SA

Posted by Andile Sicetsha

1 December marks the annual commemoration of World AIDS Day and decades later, uneducated stigmas still exist around the disease.

HIV/AIDS is still a big issue in South Africa

Much of South Africa’s losses in trying to curb the spread of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) can be owed to the large scale of misinformation circulated on social media about the diseases.

According to an Avert report published in April 2020, HIV prevalence among South Africa’s general population is high at 20.4%.

In other words, at least two in 10 South Africans aged between 15 and 49 years old are living with HIV. This is a scary statistic that speaks volumes about the lack of awareness in preventative measures.

Unlike the coronavirus (Covid-19), HIV is highly avoidable. It is a virus that is most commonly transmitted sexually.

World AIDS Day: HIV/AIDS 2020 factsheet

There are varying levels of susceptibility for male and female hosts and with the advancement of HIV treatment, it’s even possible to prevent passing it to others.

Despite this, HIV/AIDS continues to spread in South Africa. Part of the problem is a lack of education on the latest leaps in HIV research.

We have gone ahead and put together a factsheet on HIV/AIDS in 2020. It’s hoped that this will put an end to the stigmas and myths attached to the virus.

  • 75.7 million 55.9 million–100 million people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic (end 2019)
  • 26 million 25.1 million–26.2 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy as of the end of June 2020
  • New HIV infections have been reduced by 40% since the peak in 1998
  • AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 60% since the peak in 2004
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls accounted for 59% of all new HIV infections in 2019
  • Unprotected sex is still the leading transmission of the virus
  • Sex workers are 30 times more likely to be infected with HIV
  • There is still no vaccine to treat HIV
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