Government of South Africa has a National Strategic Plan
(2000-2005) for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted
infections. The Plan focuses on facilitating and supporting
behavioral change. Development efforts are being seriously
hampered by the high prevalence of HIV (estimated
at about 20 per cent among the general population and
one third of pregnant women), which is expected to cut
average age life expectancy from 56.5 to 40 years by
2010. Persons under the age of 20 constitute 44 per cent
of the national population of over 44 million people.
High unemployment and violence have increased their vulnerability
to HIV. Most at risk are black female youths. In 2000,
approximately 23 per cent of young people under age 24
were reported as being HIV-positive.
With regards to HIV prevention, the UNFPA Country
Program has proposed a national programme with the goal
to contribute to improvements in the quality of life
of the South African people through reducing the prevalence
of HIV; improving reproductive health and respect
for reproductive rights; enhancing gender equality and
equity, particularly among youth; and achieving population
trends commensurate with social and economic development.
Sub-programmes will focus on reproductive health, population
and development strategies, and advocacy. Gender concerns,
HIV prevention, capacity building, and information,
education and communication (IEC) would be incorporated
into each sub-programme.
In light of the high level of adolescent pregnancy
and the high prevalence rates and risks of transmission
of STIs, including HIV, the major strategy is to
play a leading role in the promotion of expanded quality
reproductive health and preventive services geared particularly
towards adolescents and youth. In addition to supportive
IEC methods to promote attitudinal and behavioral change,
the sub-programme will promote dual contraception, the
provision of adolescent- and youth-friendly sexual and
reproductive health services, and voluntary counselling
and testing for HIV.