HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus, which can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS. HIV destroys blood cells called CD4+ T cells which help your body fight diseases. This means that HIV compromises your immune system and stops your body from fighting diseases.
The estimated overall HIV prevalence rate among the South African population is approximately 12,6%. The total number of people living with HIV is estimated at approximately 7,06 million in 2017. For adults aged 15–49 years, an estimated 18,0% of the population is HIV positive. (Source: Statistics SA: Mid-year population estimates 2017)
South Africa has a very high prevalence of HIV and AIDS but is fighting back with the biggest HIV treatment programme in the world. Government continues to implement programmes that promote various HIV and AIDS prevention measures, such as:
- antiretroviral treatment which is free to anyone who tests positive, no matter what their CD4 count is.
- medical male circumcision
- prevention of mother-to-child transmission
- HIV and AIDS Counselling and Testing (HCT) Campaign
The HIV test is provided for free at government clinics. Use Health Sites to find your nearest clinic providing ARV treatment, counselling or medical male circumcision.
Many non-governmental organisations are working with government to limit HIV and AIDS. You can find more information at:
- AIDS Foundation of South Africa
- South African National AIDS Council
- Brothers for life
- Health Sites
- Brand South Africa: HIV and Aids: How to get treatment and support in South Africa
- South Africa's National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs 2017-2022
- South African History Online
- Government on HIV and AIDS: Speeches and statements
- National AIDS helpline: 0800 012 322 E-mail: aidshelpline.org.za