According to health minister Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa is on track to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV to below 2% by 2015. He was commenting on the results of a study released by the medical research council that saw mother-to-child transmission rates drop by almost 1% from 2010 levels.
Increased education and greater access to anti-retroviral drugs are two of the factors that have contributed to the drop in transmission rates. This has been accompanied by an increase in spending on prevention programs, up 50% from levels in 2006. Worldwide, deaths from Aids have declined considerably since 2005.
Quoted in Business Day, the health minister said that, despite the successes reflected in this study, the rate of HIV infection among women and girl children was still too high. “We need to deal more decisively with the structural issues that affect the lives of women and girls“, he said. This means that steps must be taken to alleviate conditions that put women and girls at risk, as well as addressing the stigma faced by those in vulnerable positions.
We would like to salute Minister Motsoaledi for the progress his department has made in the fight against HIV and Aids, and for acknowledging that, despite this progress, there is still far to go in the war.