Give us ARVs so we don’t get HIV
By JOHN MUTSAMBI, BRIAN KANYEMBA, YVETTE RAPHAEL, NTANDO YOLA —-
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.