Does the 2008 HSRC survey indicate a turning tide of HIV prevalence in children, teenagers and the youth?

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South African Medical Journal

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University of Cape Town

Recently the HSRC released its report on the results of its third and most recent household prevalence survey. The main conclusion of their analysis is that “some solid progress has been made in the fight against the disease in the past few years, especially among teenagers and children”. In particular the authors conclude: • that HIV prevalence at national level has decreased amongst children aged 2-14, from 5.6% in 2002 to 2.5% in 2008, • that there was a substantial decrease in incidence in 2008 in comparison to 2002 and 2005, especially for the single age groups 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19, • that HIV prevalence has decreased amongst youth aged 15-24 from 10.3% in 2005 to 8.6% in 2008, and • that HIV prevalence among adults aged 15-49 has declined between 2002 and 2008 in the Western Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape and the Free State, “with the largest decline of 7.9 (sic) percentage points in the Western Cape”. How reliable are the results from the survey and how reasonable are these conclusions?