Motsoaledi hails great progress made in fight against HIV/Aids

A new UNAIDS report has revealed that for the first time, more than half of people living with HIV around the world are taking treatment.

FILE: Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says while great progress has been made to stop the spread of HIV and Aids, there’s still much more work to be done.

A new UNAIDS report has revealed that for the first time, more than half of people living with HIV around the world are taking treatment.

The report also shows that Aids-related deaths halved since 2005 from 2 million to 1 million in 2016.

Motsoaledi says that treatment programmes are extremely important.

“We used to have 70,000 born every year with HIV positive. Due to the very successful mother-to-child transmission, that figure has fallen far below 6,000 from 70,000.”

The latest UNAIDS data, covering 160 countries, demonstrate both the enormous gains already made and what can be achieved in the coming years through a Fast-Track approach.

According to the report, in just the last two years the number of people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy has increased by about a third, reaching 17.0 million people, 2 million more than the 15 million by 2015 target set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011.

The report says that in the world’s most affected region, eastern and southern Africa, the number of people on treatment has more than doubled since 2010, reaching nearly 10.3 million people. AIDS-related deaths in the region have decreased by 36% since 2010.

Of these figures, South Africa alone had nearly 3.4 million people on treatment, more than any other country in the world.

After South Africa, Kenya has the largest treatment programme in Africa, with nearly 900,000 people on treatment at the end of 2015.

Botswana, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe all increased treatment coverage by more than 25 percentage points between 2010 and 2015.


Complex and varied social, structural and economic dynamics within countries account for the uneven geographical distribution of HIV. In many countries, HIV prevalence is higher in cities, where the vibrancy, stress and anonymity of urban life, and its bustle of encounters and interactions, provide increased opportunities for behaviours and sexual networking that may increase the risk of HIV infection.

Increased efforts to collect and analyse sub-national data are revealing where HIV infections are occurring and where there are gaps in the provision of HIV services.

In Kenya, for example, an analysis in 2014 found that 65% of new HIV infections occurred in just nine of the country’s 47 counties.

This analysis contributed to a national HIV prevention “road map” that defines evidence-informed biomedical and structural interventions and targets them to specific populations and geographical zones.

The Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework aims to reduce annual new HIV infections among adults by 75% by 2019.