South Africa's HIV Epidemic

An estimated 6.8 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa in 2014, more than in any other country the world. It is believed that in 2014, over 200,000 South Africans died of AIDS related illnesses.  The national prevalence among adults is around 19%, with some age groups being particularly affected.

An estimated 340,000 children under 14 years old  are living with HIV in South Africa.  In addition around 25% of all new infections in South Africa are in young people aged 15-24 years, and rates of new infections among women are four times higher than that of men in this age group. 

Young people and HIV

South Africa’s HIV and AIDS epidemic has had a devastating effect on children and teenagers in a number of ways.  AIDS related illness is the leading cause of death among young children in South Africa.  AIDS is also the leading cause of death in teens in Africa and the second leading cause of death in teens globally.  While the issue of access to HIV and AIDS treatment has come to the forefront of global health policies, children infected or affected by the HIV epidemic have been passed over.

In many instances the virus was transmitted from the child’s mother. Consequently, the children living with HIV have often been born into families where the virus may have orphaned the child or had a severe impact on health, income, productivity and the ability to care for each other.  Children living with HIV and AIDS face medical, cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial problems as a result of their illness and the context in which they live.

Choosing to focus on children and teens is to focus on a neglected population, a pocket of people who have fallen through the cracks; we are proud to target this population and provide them with the tools they need to live healthy, productive lives.