Johannesburg, Nov 30 (EFE) .- South Africa, a key country in the fight against HIV / AIDS because it is the nation with the highest number of infected by the virus in the world, will not reach its goals for this year 2020, as it admitted this Monday South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the eve of World AIDS Day.
“Although we have reduced deaths and new infections, we are still far from the goal we committed to in 2016 of reaching a 75% reduction in infections by 2020,” Ramaphosa detailed in a letter published this morning.
“If we can do that, we will probably end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030,” the president added.
South Africa – a country in which it is estimated that more than 7.7 million people live with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, which causes AIDS) – managed to reduce new infections by 60% in these years thanks to important treatment and detection efforts, but the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has been a serious setback for the objectives set.
“Since the covid-19 outbreak, with the country in national confinement and pressure on our health centers, many services for HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis have suffered,” Ramaphosa admitted in the message.
“This has been a challenge for people to get tested and start antiretroviral treatment. Many patients have found it difficult to collect their medicines and fewer have had access to other services, such as voluntary male circumcision,” he added.
Despite this setback, the president emphasized renewing the country’s commitment to the fight against the HIV pandemic and noted that there are lessons from the coronavirus pandemic that can be applied to the fight against AIDS.
It is estimated that of the more than 7.7 million people living with HIV – the prevalence of infections is 20.4% among people aged 15 to 49 – only about 5 million receive treatment despite the great efforts and advances made in the country in recent times.
The coronavirus pandemic has also hit South Africa especially hard this year, placing the southern nation as the most affected by covid-19 on the entire African continent.
In fact, during the highs of the first wave (mid-year) South Africa was among the five nations with the worst infection data in the world.
To date, it has registered 787,702 cases of covid-19, with 21,477 deaths and 730,633 patients already discharged, and after the respite in recent months, some areas of the country are already beginning to notice the signs of a second wave.