Give us ARVs so we don’t get HIV


South Africans are waiting and willing to help but the Medicines Control Council drags its heels.

South Africa has rolled out the largest antiretroviral treatment program in the world – about 3.1 million people are now on treatment, according to health department figures.

This is a remarkable, given the earlier years of poor political response. But South Africa still has unacceptably high rates of infections and HIV remains a public health emergency.

Within the general epidemic in South Africa, some specific population groups –  such as sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), discordant couples (where one partner is HIV-positive and one HIV-negative), truckers, and people who inject drugs – have higher rates of HIV and require specialised interventions.

The disease takes a particularly devastating toll on the lives of adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24, a rate more than four times that of their male counterparts, according to the Human Sciences Research Council’s 2012 National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey.

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