Rates of HIV Testing and Diagnosis in South Africa: Successes and Challenges

August 2015 - Epidemiology

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Johnson, L.F., Rehle, T.M., Jooste, S., and Bekker, L-G. AIDS (July 2015), 29(11): 1401–1409.

The authors of this article investigated South Africa's progress towards the HIV counseling and testing (HCT) goals set by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (90 percent of HIV-positive individuals knowing their status). Using a mathematical model, they estimated changes in HCT up to mid-2012 and projected the likely change in the proportion of undiagnosed HIV-positive adults during the 2012–2020 period. After analyzing HCT data from public and private health sectors and household survey estimates on HIV testing, they found that 5.7 million HIV-positive adults aged 15 or over lived in SA in mid-2012. Of these, 23.7 percent (31.9 percent of men and 19 percent of women) were undiagnosed. Although estimates suggest substantial declines in the number of undiagnosed HIV-positive adults in South Africa over the last decade, the number remains high (664,000 men and 679,000 women in 2012). The authors said that if the Department of Health targets of 10 million HIV tests per annum are met, the undiagnosed numbers should decline to 249,000 men and 286,000 women by 2020, or 8.9 percent; and South Africa could meet the 10 percent target set by UNAIDS by 2018. They concluded that South Africa is on track to meet the UNAIDS target of fewer than 10 percent undiagnosed by 2020, provided the country continues to test 10 million individuals per annum.

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