Like the rest of the world, South Africa has learned to live with COVID-19 pandemic for more than 18 months.  The panic and misery that was caused by the hospitalizations and many deaths that followed is something that is almost reminiscent of the past four decades since the onset of the discovery of the HIV.  As with the HIV and AIDS virus, the discovery and administration of drugs to fight COVID-19 has highlighted the glaring disparities that are prevalent globally and nationally when it comes to acquisition of health care knowledge and services.  The Developing countries were the first to receive vast amounts of dosages for various vaccines and they immediately started massive vaccination roll-out.  In June 2021 the United States of America had reached 50% coverage while countries like India and Brazil were still going through their worst infection rates of tens of thousands of people a day.  South Africa embarked on the vaccination drive in February 2021 with a three phased target of first, 1.25 million healthcare workers, followed by the over 60s (and person of 18 and above with co-morbidities [1] ) and last, anyone over 18.

A few issues are worth noting about COVID vaccination roll-out: Continue reading “COVID-HIV-INEQUALITY IN SOUTH AFRICA”

Report on 10th SA AIDS Conference 9-10 June 2021

South Africa hosted its 10th SA AIDS Conference 9 – 10 June 2021.

This year’s theme was ‘Ending AIDS amid Pandemics’

Judith Bester reported the following highlights from the SAAC:

Prof Salim Abdool Karim, CAPRISA Director –

  • No evidence of higher COVID-19 susceptibility in PLHIV to HIV negative people.
  • Modest effect for PLHIV to have more severe COVID-19.
  • PLHIV with unsuppressed viral load, more severe COVID-19.
  • Uncontrolled HIV due to no ART or low ARV adherence = high HIV viral load + high SARS-CoV-2 counts.
  • Once effective ART regime = HIV suppression, immune-reconstitution and SARS-CoV-2 clearance.
  • During 7 months of uncontrolled HIV the patient developed 37 SARS-CoV-2 mutations and no immune response after 2 Pfizer vaccine doses.

 Dr Matume Joseph Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Health:

  • The % of PLHIV with VL less than 1000 in 2020 ranged from 52% in Limpopo and 72% in KZN.
  • SA achieved 1st and 3rd of UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, but not second target of linking to ART.
  • TB prevalence much higher in men.
  • SA not reaching TB diagnosing and treatment targets.

Continue reading “Report on 10th SA AIDS Conference 9-10 June 2021”

So, what DO you know about “impact”?

Contributing to the conversation on the CHABAHIVA Collaborative Network (CCN) about impact assessment, Nicky du Plessis, CEO of the Field Band Foundation, wrote the following:

“Monitoring and evaluation is a topic that is getting hotter and hotter for all public benefit organisations. Everyone needs to demonstrate that their activities are effective, efficient and producing the results they intend, and more and more are we all required to measure, assess and prove ourselves. The depressed economic environment means that funding partners are under pressure themselves to justify their spend externally.  So the pressure is being extended downwards and outwards and sometimes it can feel extremely daunting. What information do we need? How should we collect it? And most importantly, what do we do with it when we have it!?

Continue reading “So, what DO you know about “impact”?”