Snapshot of the issue

HIV/AIDS is not only a physical disease robbing individuals of their God-given destiny but is also an epidemic that is destroying the very fabric of our society - the family unit. This results in entire communities experiencing a ripple effect of social ills: orphaned children, unemployment, the old caring for the young, poverty, crime, exploitation of children, stigma...

For many, especially babies and woman, HIV is not a disease acquired through illicit sexual behaviour. Many women who test HIV positive have only ever been married and faithful to one partner. For these women, testing HIV positive also reveals the infidelity of their partners - double sorrow.

This complex epidemic is fuelled by high risk sexual behaviour (especially in our large youth population). Effective prevention involves dealing with the roots of high risk sexual behaviour which include: low self esteem, sexual coercion, transactional sex (sex for money or things), and lack of parental communication, pessimism, peer pressure and poor education.

While the Western Cape has some of the lowest HIV prevalence statistics in South Africa, HIV/AIDS is still rife in many of our urban communities.

Recent stats reveal the following about HIV/AIDS in South Africa:

* 18.34% prevalence in people aged 15-49 years old in 2006;
* this equates to around 5.41 million people living with HIV in 2006, including 257,000 children;
* 12.1% of men age 25 - 29 years are HIV positive compared to 33% of women the same age;
* 29.1% of pregnant women were living with HIV in 2006; the provinces that recorded the highest HIV rates were KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Free State;
* 39.1% of woman attending antenatal clinics in KZN are HIV positive versus 15.2% in the Western Cape;
* AIDS killed around 336,000 South Africans between mid-2005 and mid-2006;
* 33% of 18-year-olds have had a baby; and
* one out of every 12 children born in South Africa today is HIV positive.


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