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South Africa Making Progress Against HIV/AIDS, But Still More Effort Needed, Health Minister Says

Though South Africa has made progress against HIV/AIDS over the past few years, the country’s “health minister says much more needs to be done,” VOA News reports. Health officials from South Africa’s Medical Research Council on Thursday said the mother-to-child transmission rate dropped from 3.5 percent in 2010 to 2.7 percent in 2011, getting the country closer to its goal of reaching a two percent rate by 2015, the news service notes. But Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi “told reporters Thursday in Johannesburg that 60 percent of HIV/AIDS patients are female and they must be the focus to stem the epidemic in the country,” VOA writes, adding, “Motsoaledi is urging everyone to seek regular HIV testing in an effort to reduce the epidemic and diminish the disease’s stigma” (Powell, 7/19).

According to Agence France-Presse, “South Africa has the world’s largest HIV caseload, with six million people currently living with the virus” and it “runs the world’s largest treatment program, serving 1.3 million people” (7/19). NPR’s “Shots” blog examines how the FDA’s recent approval of Truvada to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people at high-risk of contracting the virus “is being greeted with skepticism, derision and even worry by some doctors in South Africa” (Beaubien, 7/19).

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