The fight against HIV & AIDS

HIV and AIDS prevention


The HIV and AIDS epidemic, with its significant social, economic and cultural impacts, is one of the largest obstacles to development in South Africa. With 6.4 million people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the country is among those worst hit by the disease.

The main reasons for the epidemic in South Africa are the low use of condoms, together with low rates of male circumcision and the high number of people in numerous, and often simultaneous, sexual relationships. Gender inequalities and male dominance in relationships, as well as sexual violence, contribute to the spread of HIV, as does excessive alcohol and drug abuse that triggers risky sexual practices.

World AIDS Day in Johannesburg Enlarge image World AIDS Day in Johannesburg (© picture-alliance/ dpa) HIV and AIDS are more than a health issue. However, owing to the lack of sector-encompassing coordination and cooperation, effective treatment and preventive measures do not reach all people at risk and have not yet changed the behaviour of individuals and communities to the desired extent. To address the social drivers and causes of the epidemic at their root, interventions at all levels are required.

The German contribution

Against this backdrop, HIV and AIDS prevention was declared a focal area of South African–German development cooperation in 2010. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) are working jointly to support the implementation of the National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB (2012-2016) of South Africa.

Key elements of the German approach are:

  • focus on prevention instead of treatment
  • piloting innovative projects
  • addressing biomedical as well as socio-cultural drivers of the disease (multi-sectoral)
  • targeting in particular young South Africans
  • gender-sensitivity
  • geographical focus on the provinces of Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape
  • cooperation with public and private actors, aligned with the South African government´s strategy

Components of the German Multisectoral HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme

Financial assistance implemented by KfW

Essential HIV and AIDS Services Package Enlarge image (© GIZ) HIV Prevention through voluntary counselling and testing (VCT): 

KfW supports the South African Department of Health in improving access to quality voluntary counselling and testing for HIV.  

200 clinics in Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and KZN have been rehabilited so far and testing facilities have been established

HIV/AIDS Prevention (HCT):

The project supports the Activate! Leadership and Innovation Programme by DG Murray Trust. 220 peer educators between 20-30 years have been trained so far. The Programme aims at changing young people´s behaviour in terms of HIV, drug and alcohol abuse and violence.

KfW is going to assist NGOs in providing mobile testing facilities. These mobile clinics will provide services like HIV and TB counselling and testing as well as male medical circumcision.

Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC): 

The component aims at rehabiliting and equipping day care community centres for orphans and vulnerable children. Furthermore a skills programme will be implemented that enables the young people to qualify better for the job market.

Technical assistance implemented by GIZ

Multi-sector HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme (MHIVP):

The emphasis of the programme is on strengthening the AIDS councils at national, provincial and local level and on improving their work through the development of their human capacities.

Furthermore GIZ has been working with the non-governmental organisation “loveLife” – South Africa´s leader in HIV and AIDS  prevention and youth development. GIZ supports loveLife with expert advice and skills transfer in the areas of communication, evaluation and programme implementation.

Also, GIZ assists business and labour with the implementation of workplace policies on HIV and AIDS and programmes on health promotion.


Afrikanische Mutter mit Baby vor Aidsflagge in Burkina Faso

Towards The World: South African-German exchange strengthens HIV and AIDS youth leadership

Europawärts volunteers in Germany

Six young South Africans were selected for the first Europawärts – Towards Europe - exchange programme initiated by the South African Youth NGO loveLife, which focuses on HIV prevention. They spend six months In Dresden - stayed with German families and worked with schools and youth groups in the city, both learning about the German way of doing things and bringing their own South African perspective to issues such as HIV and AIDS.

University Radio Stations and HIV/AIDS Awareness: A German Contribution

‘Future Beats – tomorrow matters today’

‘Future Beats’ is an outstanding example of the successful German–South African cooperation. It aims to establish a radio and social media programme at university radio stations in South Africa, to create greater awareness concerning HIV and AIDS and related issues such as human rights, youth unemployment, and alcohol and drug abuse. The German Embassy attended the launch of ‘Future Beats’, a Youth Development and HIV Prevention programme on May 29 in Johannesburg.