HIV statistics for South Africa - Treatment, prevalence, provinces

HIV Statistics for South Africa

The most important HIV statistics for South Africa include the following.1UNAIDS, https://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/southafrica/

In 2018 an estimated 7,700,000 million people were living with HIV;

240,000 people were newly infected with HIV;

71,000 people died from an AIDS-related illness;

HIV prevalence among adults (15 - 49) was 20.4%.

HIV Treatment

Of all adults aged 15 years and over living with HIV, 62% were on treatment;

63% of children aged 0-14 years  and living with HIV were on treatment;

65% of adult women living with HIV were on treatment compared to 56% of adult men.

HIV in South Africa

There is more generally about HIV in South Africa.

HIV Statistics for South Africa - Prevalence

The HIV prevalence is the number of people living with HIV that are present in a particular population, in this case South Africa, at a given time.

Collecting HIV survey statistics in South Africa

Collecting HIV survey statistics in South Africa

Prevalence is usually but not always given as a percentage of the population. Prevalence includes newly diagnosed people, plus people diagnosed in the past and people who haven't even been diagnosed. The best estimate of prevalence comes from surveys but because of the cost these are only carried out every few years.

The Fifth South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence, Behavious and Communication Survey, carried out in 2017 gives a wealth of information about prevalence differences by sex and race, by age, by province and for important populations.2The Fifth South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence, Behaviour and Communication Survey, 2017, HSRC, http://www.hsrc.ac.za/uploads/pageConte/9234/SABSSMV_Impact_Assessment_Summary_ZA_ADS_cleared_PDFA4.pdf

HIV Prevalence (%) - by sex and race

There is considerable variation in the prevalence rates between women and men.

HIV Prevalence by Sex & Race in South Africa 2017
Black African White Coloured Indian/Asian
Men 12.5 1.3 4.7 0.4
Women 20.6 0.9 5.8 1.3
Total 16.6 1.1 5.3 0.8

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HIV Prevalence (%) - by sex and age

HIV Prevalence by Sex & Age in South Africa 2017
0-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64
Men 2.4 4.7 4.8 12.4 18.4 23.7 22.4 24.8 17.6 14.9 8.2
Women 3.0 5.8 15.6 27.5 34.7 39.4 35.9 30.3 22.2 17.6 14.9

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There is considerable variation in the prevalence rates between women and men.

HIV prevalence among adults aged 15 to 49 years is 20.6%; 26.3 percent among females and 14.8 percent among males.

The disparity in HIV prevalence by sex is most pronounced among young adults. HIV prevalence among 20 to 24 year olds, is three times higher among females (15.6%) than males (4.8%).

The highest prevalence is amongst women aged 35-39 where the prevalence was 39.4%

HIV Prevalence (%) - by province

In 2017 there was considerable variation in the level of HIV for the different provinces.

The prevalence of HIV in the different South African provinces was:

  • KwaZulu-Natal 27.0%;
  • Mpumalanga 22.8% ;
  • Free State 25.5%;
  • North West 22.7%;
  • Gauteng 17.6%;
  • Eastern Cape 25.2%;
  • Limpopo 17.2%;
  • Northern Cape 13.9%;
  • Western Cape 12.6%.

HIV Statistics for South Africa - Male Circumcision Prevalence by age

Overall 31.8 per cent of males aged 15-64 years old report being medically circumcised. Forty three per cent of males aged 15-24 were medically circumcised while males aged 0-14 and 55-64 had the lowest prevalence of medical circumcision at 12.0 and 21.8 per cent respectively. Of the 13.4 per cent of circumcised males aged 0-14 years 89.9% were medically circumcised.

HIV Statistics for important South African populations

Although the epidemic in South Africa is a generalised epidemic, there are some specific populations or groups of people, who have a higher than average rate of HIV prevalence. These include:3UNAIDS, http://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/southafrica

Population HIV Prevalence
Sex workers 57.7%
Gay men 26.8%
Black African women aged 15-49 26.3%

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People who inject drugs are also an important population. The HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs has been estimated at 14.2%.4"The Global State of Harm Reduction 2018", 2018, https://www.hri.global/files/2018/12/10/Sub-SaharanAfrica-harm-reduction.pdf

HIV Statistics for South Africa - HIV incidence

The HIV incidence is the number of new HIV infections in a population during a certain time period.

Annual HIV Incidence (%)
15-24 15-49 15-64
Men 0.49 0.69 0.58
Women 1.51 0.93 0.82
Total 1.00 0.79 0.69

The Thembisa Model

A number of different mathematical models have been developed to describe different aspects of the South African HIV epidemic. Thembisa was developed to put together four previously developed models, each of which had different strengths & limitations. It is from Thembisa that the UNAIDS figures are produced.5New modelling research shows partial progress in South Africa's response to HIV, 2019, https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2019/june/20190628_south-africa-modelling

Page Updating

This page was last updated in January 2020.
Author Annabel Kanabus

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Major Source for HIV statistics for South Africa