The Problem - HIV in South and Southern Africa.

The first diagnosis of AIDS was made in South Africa in 1982 and by the time the first national antenatal survey to test for HIV was done in 1990, 0.8% of pregnant women were HIV positive[1].  Today there are approximately 5.7 million people living with HIV in South Africa, and almost 1,000 AIDS deaths occurring every day. [2]

According to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, more people die from Aids-related illnesses each year than from all natural disasters together[3].

In spite of promising signs of stabilisation of the epidemic and even decrease in new infections in some countries, Southern Africa remains the region with the highest burden of HIV in the world.  The extent of the suffering and need caused by the epidemic is well known, as is the confusion caused by misinformation and AIDS denialism in South and Southern Africa. 

The oft quoted example of Uganda has demonstrated that real progress will only be made if and when all the potential and resources of a country can be utilized in cohesion.  For this purpose all possible role-players in Southern Africa must be mobilised.


[1] AVERT

[2] UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic

[3] World Disasters Report 2008

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