South Africa

South Africa faces a severe epidemic and may have more people infected with HIV than any other country in the world. In 2004, it was estimated that over 5 million people in South Africa were living with HIV/AIDS. Based on information from the annual antenatal clinic surveillance survey, HIV prevalence among pregnant women in South Africa was only 0.7% in 1991 and has increased rapidly since then reaching a high of 29.5% in 2004.

While HIV prevalence in a number of African countries such as Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania has shown evidence of declines in recent years, the epidemic may still be growing in countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.  Based on a 2004 annual antenatal clinic survey, HIV prevalence in South Africa increased from 2003 levels in all age groups.

CFID Collaborations in South Africa

UNC faculty began to work in South Africa with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in the late 1990s and in 2005, UNC and Wits signed a formal collaborative research memo. This memorandum allows for joint faculty appointments, special contractual opportunities, and expanded collaboration.

UNC collaborated with Wits on the development of a successful CIPRA and international ACTG site, a World AIDS Foundation regional training course and research involving detection of patients with acute HIV and technology transfer.  In addition, UNC served as advisor on the Wits ACTU application.

The HIV epidemic has aggravated the pre-existing tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, and escalating TB case-rates complicate the HIV epidemic. By 2007, there were approximately 1.37 million HIV-positive TB patients globally, about 80% of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa is among the top 5 countries in terms of TB burden, HIV burden, and TB/HIV burden. UNC has two active HIV/TB programs in South Africa: South African TB/HIV Training Program (SATBAT) and the WITS/UNC training program.