The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
South Africa Turning the Tide against AIDS

We haven’t been too kind to South Africa recently, but with justification. Overall, it has been an abysmal year for a country that was once Africa’s biggest success story.

However, there is one piece of positive news for the struggling nation. In anticipation of World Aids Day on December 1, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has released a report detailing the state of the disease worldwide. The report, optimistically entitled “Results”, shows that South Africa has made huge strides in combatting the disease, lowering the rate of new HIV infections by an impressive 41 percent since 2001. The South African has more:

The report found that these dramatic improvements were brought about by increasing domestic public investment in combating HIV/Aids to US$1.9-billion in 2011 – a five-fold increase since 2006.

South Africa has scaled up its provision of state-sponsored antiretroviral therapy by 75% in the last two years, ensuring that 1.7-million people had access to the life-saving treatment.

The country has slashed the number of Aids-related deaths by 100,000 since 2005 – showing that antiretroviral therapy has emerged as a powerful force for saving lives.

When discussing the causes of this, it is important to remember that not too long ago some South African officials were advocating for the use of African potatoes to combat HIV/AIDS instead of antiretrovirals. Fortunately, the nation’s leadership has moved past folk remedies, and the results speak for themselves.

Nor is the good news limited to South Africans: The report estimates that 48 percent of all global funding to fight HIV/AIDS comes from the United States, something all Americans should be proud of.

However, it remains the case that there are still millions of HIV/AIDS orphans growing up in Africa. Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, embrace Giving Tuesday and make a donation here to Save the Children, and help ensure that we get to cover more positive stories like this one.

Published on November 27, 2012 7:00 pm