December 1 has been christened World AIDS Day. It allows us to bring into sharp focus the effect of HIV-AIDS around the world. It allows us to reflect on the ongoing challenge we face to reduce the incidence of the disease and impact on the cost of treating patients who have contracted HIV. Outside of the direct health treatment cost, there is also the cost to the economy and family of the patients. So, how is South Africa doing in its fight against HIV-AIDS post the Manto Thsabalala era?
Let's first look at some of our general population statistics as at July 2014 in South Africa and as supplied by STATSSA.
For 2014, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) estimates the mid-year population as 54 million.
Fifty-one per cent (approximately 27,64 million) of the population is female. Gauteng comprises the largest share of the South African population. Approximately 12,91 million people (23,9%) live in this province. KwaZulu-Natal is the province with the second largest population, with 10,69 million people (19,8%) living in this province. With a population of approximately 1,17 million people (2,2%), Northern Cape remains the province with the smallest share of the South African population.
About 30,0% of the population is aged younger than 15 years and approximately 8,4% (4,54 million) is 60 years or older. Of those younger than 15 years, approximately 22,7% (3,66 million) live in KwaZulu-Natal and 18,8% (3,05 million) live in Gauteng. The proportion of elderly aged 60 and older is increasing over time.
Migration is an important demographic process in shaping the age structure and distribution of the provincial population. For the period 2011–2016 it is estimated that approximately 241 758 people will migrate from the Eastern Cape; Limpopo is estimated to experience an out-migration of nearly 303 101 people. During the same period, Gauteng and Western Cape are estimated to experience an inflow of migrants of approximately 1 106 375 and 344 830 respectively.
Life expectancy at birth for 2014 is estimated at 59,1 years for males and 63,1 years for females. The infant mortality rate for 2014 is estimated at 34,4 per 1 000 live births.
What about HIV?
The estimated overall HIV prevalence rate is approximately 10,2% of the total South African population. The total number of people living with HIV is estimated at approximately 5,51 million in 2014. For adults aged 15–49 years, an estimated 16,8% of the population is HIV positive.
The total number of persons living with HIV in South Africa increased from an estimated 4,09 million in 2002 to 5,51 million by 2014. About one-fifth of South African women in their reproductive ages are HIV positive.
These numbers are staggering! And worrying. It is estimated that less than 3 million people are receiving ARVs to combat the spread of the virus in patients.
This is South Africa today. Too often we ignore the messages around HIV. We are tired of the campaign. We've heard it so many times over the last decade. Let's move on. But we can't stop the fight, the need to educate and keep this issue on the foreground. To do the opposite will have disastrous effects for the country. We ranked as the no 1 country wrt the prevalence of HIV. There is nothing to celebrate in this achievement or status.