South Africa became home to AHF’s first treatment centre outside the U.S. with the establishment of the Ithembalabantu (People’s Hope) clinic in the Durban township of Umlazi in 2002, through a partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health. In addition to Ithembalabantu, AHF now supports 20 other clinics in the Durban area. AHF expanded services to the Eastern Cape Province in 2008. It now supports 36 clinics in rural districts of the country’s poorest province. In 2016 AHF opened a state of the art clinic in Middledrift, Eastern Cape. In 2015 AHF launched services in Gauteng province, focusing on underserved communities like Heidelberg, expanding to 10 sites throughout the province in 2017. In 2017 AHF, in partnership with the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce launched our first clinic in the Western Cape, bringing our supported sites to 75 throughout the country.
Through these sites, AHF South Africa offers comprehensive HIV and tuberculosis (TB) testing, treatment and care. Nationwide services include antiretroviral medication, CD4 and viral load testing, lab monitoring, treatment of opportunistic infections, on-site pharmacy services, distribution of free condoms to the public, and community outreach programs to test the population for HIV and link those who test positive into care.
South Africa has long been considered the country carrying the world’s heaviest HIV/AIDS burden with prevalence rates lingering near 18% of the population. In 2012 alone, the country’s Human Science Research Council identified 400,000 new HIV cases. Even more troubling was that study’s finding that knowledge of how HIV is transmitted and prevented has dropped to 26.8% from 30.3% in 2008. Another local study, the National HIV and Syphilis Antenatal Sero-prevalence Survey conducted by the nation’s Department of Health, found that 29.5% of pregnant women in 2011 were HIV-positive. Despite the dire statistics facing the South African community, the U.S. announced in March 2013 that it would be cutting its support of South Africa’s AIDS fight in half by 2017 due to budget cuts.