Tue, 29 Sep 2020

File photo shows a doctor works at the HIV department of Helen Jose Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Xinhua/Li Qihua)

A latest government survey showed that the estimated overall HIV prevalence rate is approximately 13 percent in South Africa out of its population of 59.62 million.

CAPE TOWN, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The estimated overall HIV prevalence rate is approximately 13 percent among the South African population, according to a survey released on Thursday.

The country's total number of people living with HIV is estimated at approximately 7.8 million in 2020, Statistics South Africa said in the survey.

For adults aged 15 to 49 years, an estimated 18.7 percent of the population is HIV positive, the agency said.

The latest figures came as the agency released South Africa's mid-year population which is estimated to have increased to 59.62 million in 2020.

Despite having the biggest HIV epidemic in the world, South Africa has made huge improvements in getting people to test for HIV in recent years.

File photo shows a South African volunteer (Front) shares her first time experience to get an HIV blood test, during the 2016 conference calls for eradication of Aids, in Durban, South Africa, July 19, 2016. (Xinhua/Gao Yuan)

The country has now met the first of the 90-90-90 targets set by the UN, with 90 percent of people living with HIV aware of their status.

It's now working to ensure that 90 percent of HIV patients be on antiretroviral treatment (ART) and 90 percent of the patients have a suppressed viral load.

The 90-90-90 target is an important indicator of the success of a country's HIV response.

South Africa also has the world's largest ART program, which has undergone further expansion with the implementation of "test and treat" guidelines.

South Africa was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to fully approve PrEP, an HIV prevention drug, which is now being made available to people at high risk of infection. ■

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