The HIV population in South Africa experiences significant drop-offs at each step in the so-called treatment cascade, aidsmap reports. Also known as the care continuum, the treatment cascade comprises progressive steps between testing positive for HIV, being engaged in treatment and care for the virus and having a fully suppressed viral load.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, researchers conducted a population-based household survey, including blood testing, of 1,044 adults 18 to 49 years old in rural districts of North West Province in South Africa, collecting data between January and March 2014.

Twenty percent of the men and 26.7 percent of the women tested positive for HIV.

Among those who tested positive for the virus, 48.4 percent of the men and 75.7 percent of the women already knew they were HIV positive. Forty-four percent of the men and 74.8 percent of the women said they had been linked to HIV care. A total of 33.1 percent of the men and 58.4 percent of the women were retained in HIV care. Just 21.6 percent of the men and 50 percent of the women had viral loads below 5,000.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.