Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: patients in KwaZulu-Natal have better cure rates than patients in the Eastern Cape (PETTS Cohort).

South Africa has the third highest tuberculosis (TB) and the fifth highest drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) burden in the world.  The number of new multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases, defined as TB resistant to the two most important anti-TB drugs (isoniazid and rifampicin) as well as the number of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) cases, defined as MDR-TB with additional resistance to any fluoroquinolone and injectable second-line TB drug, is rapidly increasing in South Africa. The increase of DR-TB is largely due to the HIV epidemic and the challenges that are faced with the management of the disease (1).

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Eastern Cape (EC) have the highest burden of DR-TB cases in South Africa. For example, the number of MDR-TB cases diagnosed in KZN and EC in 2010 was 2032 and 1782 respectively and the number of XDR-TB cases 201 and 320 respectively (1).

Dismantling the Chain: The Link between Gender-based Violence and HIV in South African Women

South Africa is home to the largest number of people living with HIV compared to  any other country, with an estimated 5.6 million people in 2011 (1). Compared to other regions like Eastern Europe where injection drug use primarily drives HIV, heterosexual sex primarily drives the HIV epidemic in South Africa. The HIV prevalence in Cape Town, South Africa’s second largest city, is 13%, with prevalence reaching as high as 25% in impoverished urban townships and informal settlements (2). All around the world, the populations that are most vulnerable to and affected by disease, including HIV, are the poor, marginalized, and/or individuals with relatively low access to economic, political, and social resources.

Reversing the HIV epidemic in South Africa: an insider’s view?

As we enter 2015, we have less than a year to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This is also the year when the United Nations is expected to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which no doubt South Africa will sign up to like we did in 2000 when we signed up to the MDGs. This is a good time to reflect on South Africa’s achievements and continuing challenges in achieving all of the MDGs, but the HIV goals in particular.