Thursday, March 31, 2005

12.7% of teachers in South Africa are HIV positive

Andiswa Mesatywa:

A study commissioned by the Education Labour Relations Council has found that 12.7% of teachers in South Africa are HIV positive.

However, blacks are most likely to be HIV positive compared to whites, coloureds and Indians.

This finding was based on a nationally representative sample of 17,088 teachers who gave an oral fluid or blood specimens for HIV testing - with a response rate of 83%.

The study, carried out by the Human Sciences Research Council, found that HIV prevalence was the highest in the 25 to 34 age group followed by the 35 to 44 age group.

Here are the demographics:

Women have a higher HIV prevalence than men, as women are generally more vulnerable to HIV infection because of their biological make-up and their low socio-economic status.

There were also major racial differences in HIV prevalence: blacks have a prevalence of 16.3% compared to whites, coloureds and Indians, who have a prevalence of less than 1%.

The differences in age distribution among the different racial groups may partially account for the higher HIV prevalence among black teachers, as there was a higher concentration of black teachers in the high HIV risk age group of 25 to 34 than in other race groups.

The report notes, blacks were also more likely to find themselves in a lower socio-economic position than other race groups.

Teachers with a low socio-economic status had a much higher HIV prevalence than those in the high socio-economic group, and teachers living and working in rural areas had a higher HIV prevalence than their colleagues in urban schools.

HSRC executive director Olive Shisana said: "Black teachers were most likely to be HIV positive compared with the other groups.

And this only included teachers who provided specimens for HIV testing. Who knows how many HIV-infected teachers there are that haven't been tested?

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