4,2-million South Africans living with HIV/AIDS

Although the HIV prevalence is high, the rate of increase in South Africa is beginning to stabilise, Health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang revealed this week at the release of the tenth annual ante-natal HIV survey.

Last year’€™s rate stands at 22,4% in comparison to the 1998 rate of 22,8%. It is estimated that about 4,2 million South Africans are living with HIV or AIDS.

The national HIV sero-prevalence survey of women attending public ante-natal clinics in South Africa is a yearly survey conducted by the health department.

Releasing the results in Pretoria, Tshabalala-Msimang said new HIV infections were continuing to increase among young and economically active persons.

“AIDS infects and affects those on whom the society relies to grow the crops, work in the mines and factories, run the schools, hospitals and govern nations and countries,” she said.

Tshabalala-Msimang said the solution to the problem lay in social mobilisation to develop an expanded response to the epidemic.

The survey revealed that women in their twenties continued to have the highest HIV prevalence rates with a trend towards slightly lower HIV prevalence rates among teenage girls.

On the other hand HIV prevalence was slightly higher in the 30 to 34 age group and in the 35 to 39 year age group.

HIV prevalence also increased in five provinces with no significant change in KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Cape and Northern Province.

KwaZulu-Natal remained the province with the highest prevalence rate, but there was no increase from 1998 while the Western Cape remained the province with the lowest level of infection, but there was a 36,5% increase from 5,2% in 1998 to 7,1% in 1999.

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