Marelize Gorgens, David P Wilson, Batanayi Muzah, Robyn M Stuart, Emily Mabusela, Thulani Matsebula, Cliff C Kerr, Nicole Fraser-Hurt, Peter Barron, Fredrika Mkhwanazi, Yogan Pillay, Vusi Madi
In 2014, city leaders from around the world endorsed the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities, pledging to achieve the 2020 and 2030 HIV targets championed by UNAIDS. The City of Johannesburg – one of South Africa's metropolitan municipalities and also a health district – has over 600,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV), more than any other city worldwide. We estimate what it would take in terms of programmatic targets and costs for the City of Johannesburg to meet the Fast-Track targets, and demonstrate the impact that this would have.
We applied the Optima HIV epidemic and resource allocation model to demographic, epidemiological and behavioural data on 26 sub-populations in Johannesburg. We used data on programme costs and coverage to produce baseline projections. We calculated how many people must be diagnosed, put onto treatment and maintained with viral suppression to achieve the 2020 and 2030 targets. We also estimated how treatment needs – and therefore fiscal commitments – could be reduced if the treatment targets are combined with primary HIV prevention interventions (voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), an expanded condom programme, and comprehensive packages for female sex workers (FSW) and young females).
If current programmatic coverage were maintained, Johannesburg could expect 303,000 new infections and 96,000 AIDS-related deaths between 2017 and 2030 and 769,000 PLHIV by 2030. Achieving the Fast-Track targets would require an additional 135,000 diagnoses and 232,000 people on treatment by 2020 (an increase in around 80% over 2016 treatment numbers), but would avert 176,000 infections and 56,500 deaths by 2030. Assuming stable ART unit costs, this would require ZAR 29 billion (USD 2.15 billion) in cumulative treatment investments over the 14 years to 2030. Plausible scale-ups of other proven interventions (VMMC, condom distribution and FSW strategies) could yield additional reductions in new infections (between 4 and 15%), and in overall treatment investment needs. Scaling up VMMC in line with national targets is found to be cost-effective in the medium term.
The scale-up in testing and treatment programmes over this decade has been rapid, but these efforts must be doubled to reach 2020 targets. Strategic investments in proven interventions will help Johannesburg achieve the treatment targets and be on track to end AIDS by 2030.