Johannesburg — Mothers, babies and newly diagnosed HIV patients are receiving more of the services they need but progress comes at a cost, according to a new report that predicts a funding shortfall for HIV treatment in South Africa.
On 23 February, the Health Systems Trust released the latest versions of its annual District Health Barometer and South African Health Review.
Although in its sixth year of publication, this year’s barometer is the first to include data on early infant HIV testing for babies born to HIV-positive mothers and shows that about half of all babies born to HIV-positive mothers are now being tested for the virus at six weeks of age, an important step to ensuring they access the early HIV treatment recommended for all children younger than one under national guidelines. In 2009, only about a quarter of such babies were being tested using the sensitive polymerase chain reaction – tests that confirm whether HIV-exposed infants are HIV-positive.
The report also found that almost all pregnant women are now tested for HIV, which has helped lower mother-to-child HIV transmission to below 4 percent in the country.
The latest barometer is also the first to include data on tuberculosis (TB) screening among newly diagnosed HIV patients. In 2008, only about a third of new HIV patients were screened for TB; in 2011 about 70 percent were checked.
People who have both HIV and carry latent TB are up to 30 times more likely to develop active TB as their HIV-negative peers and TB remains the leading cause of death in South Africa and among people living with HIV worldwide. Leer más “South Africa: New Reports Chart Progress – and Costs – in HIV Fight”