A Review of South Africa’s Fight Against AIDS

A recent report on the AIDS situation in South Africa indicates that the country still sees 500,000 new HIV infections every year. The country has almost 5.7 million people living with HIV. The report concluded that reversing the epidemic would be "extremely difficult-if not impossible-in the coming years".

Robert Hecht, one of the authors, said that the report was intended to inspire policy-makers to make the right decisions, and to make them immediately. The team concluded that the existing plan to fight AIDS would require $88 billion over the coming 20 years to reduce the number of new infections to 350,000 per year.

They proposed a more ambitious plan, which would cost $102 billion over the same period but would reduce the number of new infections to below 200,000 per year. Some of the new components include wide-scale male circumcision, as infection rates drop by 60% among circumcised men.

This year, The Global Fund, a major source of AIDS funds, received 20% more from donors. They committed $11.7 billion over the next three years-a substantial sum, but still below the UN-recommended $17 billion.

The report, commissioned by the SA Government, was jointly prepared by Mr. Hecht, of the Results for Development Institute in Washington, experts from Cape Town's Centre for Economic Governance and AIDS in Africa, London's Imperial College and SA health and financial officials.