The total number of people living with HIV in South Africa is estimated to have increased by 12%, from 5 million in 2014 to 6.2 million in 2015. As the country with the highest rate of Aids infections, but also the biggest treatment programme, South Africa was a fitting host for the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016), held in Durban in July 2016. The conference emphasised that while progress has been made, much work remains, with an urgent need for resources to match the global will to address the epidemic.

Overview of CSI spend 

The health sector was supported by 54% of companies and received 9% of CSI expenditure in 2016.


Guidelines for effective funding

  • As a disease that cuts across many other health concerns, and has vast psychological and emotional implications, HIV/Aids is best addressed through approaches that enlist the co-operation of the authorities and leverage different skills and experience. Funders are advised to consider initiatives that actively engage or partner with government health structures, NPO service providers and businesses that meaningfully address the pandemic.
  • Consider supporting community-based HIV/Aids initiatives, such as home-based care and ARV adherence clubs, which do not necessarily fall within government’s budget allocation.
  • More funds should be channelled into research in the health sector, well as into initiatives that aim to increase South Africa’s health worker capacity. 

Big picture figures

  • Government’s budget for health increased from R157.3 billion in 2015 to R168.4 billion in 2016.
  • Statistics South Africa’s Mid-year population estimates, 2015 showed that average life expectancy increased from 59 years in 2014 to 60 years in 2015 for males, and from 63 years to 64 years for women for the same period.
  • The infant mortality rate, which was estimated at 34.4 per 1 000 live births as at July 2015, remained unchanged, according to the Mid-year population estimates, 2015.
  • The number of AIDS-related deaths increased by 8%, from 151 040 in 2014 to 162 445 in 2015, according to the same Mid-year population estimates.
  • According to and World Bank’s Global Atlas of the Health Work Force in 2013, South Africa’s doctor to patient ratio is 0.8 per 1 000 patients. Apart from India, which has a ratio of 0.07:100, South Africa is behind other BRICS countries; Brazil (1.9:1 000) and Russia (4.3:1 000).
  • According to the 2015 General Household Survey, only 18% of South Africans are covered by medical aid. Between 2002 and 2015, individuals who were covered by a medical aid scheme increased by 30%, from 7.3 to 9.5 million people.