Towards achieving the 90–90–90 HIV targets: results from the south African 2017 national HIV survey

Edmore Marinda, Leickness Simbayi, Khangelani Zuma, Nompumelelo Zungu, Sizulu Moyo, Lwando Kondlo, Sean Jooste, Patrick Nadol, Ehimario Igumbor, Cheryl Dietrich, Melissa Briggs-Hagen
2020 BMC Public Health  
Background Measuring progress towards the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90–90–90 treatment targets is key to assessing progress towards turning the HIV epidemic tide. In 2017, the UNAIDS model estimated that 75% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) globally knew their HIV positive status, 79% of those who knew their status were on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 81% of those who knew their HIV status and were on ART had a suppressed viral load. The fifth South African
more » ... South African national HIV sero-behavioural survey collected nationally representative data that enabled the empirical estimation of these 90–90–90 targets for the country stratified by a variety of key factors. Methods To evaluate progress towards achievement of the 90–90–90 targets for South Africa, data obtained from a national, representative, cross-sectional population-based multi-stage stratified cluster random survey conducted in 2017 were analysed. The Fifth South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence, Behaviour and Communication Survey (SABSSM V), collected behavioural and biomarker data from individuals residing in households from 1000 randomly selected Small Area Layers (SALs), across all nine provinces of the country. Structured questionnaires were used to collect socio-demographic data, knowledge and perceptions about HIV, and related risk behaviours. Blood samples were collected to test for HIV infection, antiretroviral use, and viral suppression (defined as < 1000 copies/ml). Weighted proportions of study participants aged 15 years and older who tested HIV positive were computed for those who reported awareness of their status (1st 90), and among these, those who were currently on ART (2nd 90) and of these, those who were virally suppressed (3rd 90). Results Among persons 15 years and older who were HIV positive, 84.8% were aware of their HIV positive status, of whom 70.7% were currently on ART, with 87.4% of these estimated to have suppressed viral load at the time of the survey. These estimates varied by sex, age, and geo-location type. Relatively higher percentages across all three indicators for women compared to men were observed: 88.7% versus 78.2% for those aware of their status, 72.3% versus 67.7% for on ART, and 89.8% versus 82.3% for viral suppression. Knowing one's positive HIV status increased with age: 74.0, 85.8, and 88.1% for age groups 15–24 years old, 25–49 years old and 50–64 years old, although for those 65 years and older, 78.7% knew their HIV positive status. A similar pattern was observed for the 2nd 90, among those who knew their HIV positive status, 51.7% of 15 to 24 year olds, 70.5% of those aged 25–49 years old, 82.9% of those aged 50–64 years old and 82.4% of those aged 65 years or older were currently on ART. Viral suppression for the above mentioned aged groups, among those who were on ART was 85.2, 87.2, 89.5, and 84.6% respectively. The 90–90–90 indicators for urban areas were 87.7, 66.5, and 87.2%, for rural settings was 85.8, 79.8, and 88.4%, while in commercial farming communities it was 56.2, 67.6 and 81.4%. Conclusions South Africa appears to be on track to achieve the first 90 indicator by 2020. However, it is behind on the second 90 indicator with ART coverage that was ~ 20-percentage points below the target among people who knew their HIV status, this indicates deficiencies around linkage to and retention on ART. Overall viral suppression among those on ART is approaching the target at 87.4%, but this must be interpreted in the context of low reported ART coverage as well as with variation by age and sex. Targeted diagnosis, awareness, and treatment programs for men, young people aged 15–24 years old, people who reside in farming communities, and in specific provinces are needed. More nuanced 90–90–90 estimates within provinces, specifically looking at more granular sub-national level (e.g. districts), are needed to identify gaps in specific regions and to inform provincial interventions.
doi:10.1186/s12889-020-09457-z pmid:32907565 fatcat:5xuo3afngbffpoucdhneipmwei