Among South African adults, the rate of HIV cases advancing to AIDS has stabilized since 2005; among young adults, the rate actually has declined as AIDS clinics dramatically have increased access to effective treatments. Although public health officials recognize a few encouraging signs; nonetheless, the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to ravage South Africa and all of Africa.
The World Health Organization only recently began studying the number of adults who claim “comprehensive AIDS awareness,” so experts lack sufficient data to draw a conclusion about South African AIDS awareness. But if safe sex practices indicate young adults’ AIDS awareness, South African public health officials have cause for alarm. Among young men aged 18 to 24, only a small portion regularly practice safe sex and only 16% of young women in that age group take precautions against HIV/AIDS. Educators and public health officials must increase their efforts to promote AIDS awareness among South Africans.