Gómez-Olivé, F.X., Angotti, N., Houle, B., et al. AIDS Care (January 2013)
To address gaps in understanding the HIV epidemic in South Africa, the authors conducted a cross-sectional biomarker survey of randomly selected rural adults aged 15 and older, and estimated HIV prevalence and associated socio-demographic factors. They compared their results with two previous studies in different contexts. Findings showed high HIV prevalences, similar to the country's highest in KwaZulu-Natal and nearby Swaziland. Prevalence among those aged 35-39 peaked at 45.3 percent among men and 46.1 percent among women. Of 7,193 eligible participants recruited from August 2010 to May 2011, 70 percent were located, with 4,362 participants (87 percent) consenting to both the interview and HIV testing. Overall, HIV prevalence was 19 percent, with prevalence for adults aged 50 or older at nearly 17 percent, suggesting that HIV infection occurs at an older age. Individuals in the high socioeconomic quintile were less likely to be HIV-positive than those in the low quintile. Younger men (ages 15-19, 20-24, and 25-29) were less likely to be HIV-positive than women in the same age groups, while older men (aged 55-59, 60-64, and 65-69) had greater chances of being HIV-positive compared to women. Two follow-up studies are being considered to estimate HIV incidence and entry into HIV care and treatment services. The authors recommended increasing HIV prevention activities for older adults and including them in health care treatment plans.