HIV statistics for South Africa - Prevalence, incidence, ARVs

Collecting HIV survey statistics in South Africa

Collecting HIV survey statistics in South Africa

One of the main HIV statistics for South Africa is that an estimated 7.52 million people were living with HIV in 2018. In 2017 21% of people living with HIV globally were living in South Africa.

There is more generally about HIV in South Africa.

HIV prevalence

The HIV prevalence is the number of people living with HIV at a particular time. Prevalence is usually but not always given as a percentage of the population.

The estimated overall HIV prevalence rate in 2018 was approximately 13.1% among the South African population. For adults aged 15-49 an estimated 19.0% of the population is HIV positive.

HIV Prevalence (%) South Africa - by sex and race

There is considerable variation in the prevalence rates between women and men.

HIV Prevalence by Sex & Race in South Africa 2017
Black African White Coloured Indian/Asian
Men 12.5 1.3 4.7 0.4
Women 20.6 0.9 5.8 1.3
Total 16.6 1.1 5.3 0.8

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HIV Prevalence (%) South Africa - by sex and age

HIV Prevalence by Sex & Age in South Africa 2017
0-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64
Men 2.4 4.7 4.8 12.4 18.4 23.7 22.4 24.8 17.6 14.9 8.2
Women 3.0 5.8 15.6 27.5 34.7 39.4 35.9 30.3 22.2 17.6 14.9

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There is considerable variation in the prevalence rates between women and men.

HIV prevalence among adults aged 15 to 49 years in South Africa is 20.6%; 26.3 percent among females and 14.8 percent among males.

The disparity in HIV prevalence by sex is most pronounced among young adults. HIV prevalence among 20 to 24 year olds, is three times higher among females (15.6%) than males (4.8%).

HIV Prevalence (%) South Africa - by province

There was also in 2017 considerable variation in the prevalence rate according to the province.

HIV prevalence rate by province in South Africa in 2017
KZN MP FS NW GP EC LP NC WC
Prevalence Rate 27.0 22.8 25.5 22.7 17.6 25.2 17.2 13.9 12.6

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Key: KwaZulu-Natal, MP - Mpumalanga, FS - Free State, NW - North West, GP - Gauteng, EC - Eastern Cape, LP - Limpopo, NC - Northern Cape, WC - Western Cape

Male Circumcision Prevalence by age

Overall 31.8 per cent of males aged 15-64 years old report being medically circumcised. Forty three per cent of males aged 15-24 were medically circumcised while males aged 0-14 and 55-64 had the lowest prevalence of medical circumcision at 12.0 and 21.8 per cent respectively. Of the 13.4 per cent of circumcised males aged 0-14 years 89.9% were medically circumcised.

Important South African populations

Although the epidemic in South Africa is a generalised epidemic, there are some specific populations or groups of people, who have a higher than average rate of HIV prevalence. These include:1UNAIDS, http://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/southafrica

Population HIV Prevalence
Sex workers 57.7%
Gay men 26.8%
Black African women aged 15-49 26.3%

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People who inject drugs are also an important population. The HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs has been estimated at 14.2%.2"The Global State of Harm Reduction 2018", 2018, https://www.hri.global/files/2018/12/10/Sub-SaharanAfrica-harm-reduction.pdf

HIV incidence 2017

The HIV incidence is the number of new HIV infections in a population during a certain time period.

Annual HIV Incidence (%)
15-24 15-49 15-64
Men 0.49 0.69 0.58
Women 1.51 0.93 0.82
Total 1.00 0.79 0.69

Attainment of the 90-90-90 targets

The 90-90-90 targets set by UNAIDS are that in any particular country, by 2020 90 per cent of all PLHIV will know their HIV status. 90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will be receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 90 per cent of all people receiving ART will have viral suppresion.

By 2017 South Africa had attained 85-71-86. This does emphasize the need to get more PLHIV on treatment. The figure of 86 is unclear, as elsewhere in the HSRC report, the number of people reported as being virally supressed  is reported as being 87.5%.

There is more about HIV treatment in South Africa.

People diagnosed with HIV

In South Africa 84.9 percent of PLHIV aged 15 to 64 years know their HIV status. Eighty eight point 9 per cent of HIV positive females and 78.0 per cent of HIV positive males.

People living with HIV receiving ARVs

Among PLHIV aged 15 to 64 years who know their HIV status, 70.6 per cent are on ART. Seventy two point two per cent of HIV positive females and 67.4 per cent of HIV positive males.

People virally suppressed

Among PLHIV aged 15 to 64 years currently on ART, 87.5% are virally suppressed. This comprises 89.9% of HIV positive females, and 82.1 % of HIV positive males.

TB and HIV co-infection

It is estimated that the TB/HIV co-infection rate in South Africa is nearly 60%. So this means that the country’s TB epidemic is directly linked to HIV incidence and prevalence.

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Major Sources for HIV statistics for South Africa