In South Africa, the HIV/AIDS epidemic rages on. Over 19% of adults aged 15 to 49 were living with the virus in South Africa as of 2020, according to CIA data. That’s more than 7 million South Africans. Though people diagnosed with HIV can live long and healthy lives with antiretroviral therapies and even bring the virus down to an undetectable level in the blood, they must manage the illness for a lifetime.
But prevention programs across the country are working to break the chain. Introducing PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, into the routines of key populations like young women, men who have sex with men, and sex workers can drastically reduce the spread of HIV. The once-daily pill, when taken as prescribed, has proved to reduce transmission even better than condoms. It’s estimated almost a million people took PReP worldwide in 2020. PReP has the potential to eradicate the 40-year epidemic that killed over 680,000 in 2020, according to the World Health Organization. And new forms of PrEP are coming, such as injections, which could offer people a choice.
This project explores the present and future of HIV prevention in South Africa, based on the knowledge of experts, advocates, and people around the country who share their experiences with PrEP and HIV.