SOUTH AFRICA MAKING NEW GAINS IN FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS, STUDY SHOWS

New gains have been made by South Africa in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic although the figures still remain high, according to the 2nd National Burden of Disease Study of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

The study, which was released at the council's head office here Tuesday, showed that HIV/AIDS and TB accounted for the marked change in mortality in South Africa between 1997 and 2012.

One hundred and fifty thousand people died from HIV/AIDS in 2012 compared with 300,000 in 2006/7.

The decline corresponded with the roll-out of anti-retro-viral (ARV) treatment and the earlier prevention of mother-to-child transmission campaigns.

The Director of the Burden of Disease Research Unit at the council, Prof Debbie Bradshaw, said: "HIV/AIDS remains the leading cause of death, and efforts to provide access to treatment must be enhanced, prevention efforts must be strengthened, particularly among young women, and a sizable number of HIV/AIDS deaths are associated with TB and efforts to strengthen and integrate the TB programme are needed."

The report also shows that non-communicable diseases have come to the fore as these diseases, as a group, now account for the highest number of deaths in South Africa. Bradshaw said cardiovascular conditions are the leading category of non-communicable disease deaths in South Africa.

"Different trends in non-communicable diseases were observed. Tobacco-related mortality has declined, deaths from diabetes has been increasing, and is now the sixth leading cause, renal disease has also been increasing," she said.

"It is essential to address leading risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity and diet."

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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