South Africa seeing some progress on HIV?

Good news from the country’s Human Sciences Research Council:

South Africa’s HIV epidemic has levelled off at an infection rate of 10.9% for those aged two or older, according to a new study.

The survey also suggests the rate of infection in children and teenagers could be falling.

This could be partly attributed to increased use of condoms, it says.

There may be “light at the end of the tunnel,” in the words of South Africa’s Health Minister, but it’s still an uphill climb; there are more HIV-positive people in South Africa — 5.5 million — than anywhere else in the world. Still, increased condom usage is a good sign, one that the country’s leadership — having shifted from Thabo Mbeki, whose infamous denial and inaction deeply exacerbated the problem, to Jacob Zuma, who, still, disturbingly once claimed that a shower after sex decreased the risk of HIV infection — will have to actively push.

(image from flickr user World Bank Photo Collection under a Creative Commons license)