Think tank analyzes U.S.-South African HIV/AIDS partnership

The Center for Strategic & International Studies recently released a report on the future of collaboration between the United States and South Africa in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

South Africa currently has the highest burden of HIV/AIDS in the world. There are an estimated 5.6 million South Africans living with the virus and another 400,000 more infected every year. The United States has invested over $4 billion to combat HIV/AIDS in the country and considers progress there to be essential to making sustained progress against the illness worldwide.

For the past three years, the United States and South Africa have been making an effort to transition responsibility for HIV/AIDS programs and policies to the government of South Africa. The two countries signed a partnership framework outlining the terms of the transition in 2010. The framework moves the United States into a role focusing more on technical support.

"The quickly evolving partnership is among the most important dimensions of the United States' bilateral relationship with South Africa. A successful U.S.-South Africa transition will bolster confidence in the U.S. Congress in U.S. funding for HIV/AIDS, as well as inform U.S. approaches during similar transitions with other partner governments in the future," the CSIS report states.

CSIS said its analysis of the current and predict future state of the U.S.-South African HIV/AIDS partnership shows an impressive array of achievements, particularly in the last year and a half. The process has also revealed the risks and vulnerabilities inherent in the transition process. The think tank concludes that the transition will require considerable time and patience on both sides, as well as a pragmatic management of expectations versus reality.