There are around
18,286,000 children in South Africa, with a staggering
1,400,000 orphaned by HIV /AIDS and over a quarter of a
million children infected with HIV themselves.
In fact, South Africa
has a higher number of HIV infections than any other
country on earth, and those following in number are all
South Africa's neighbours.
HIV / AIDS was
first recorded in South Africa in 1983 with its first death,
however three years later there were still just 46 recorded
instances and even by the end of the decade only 1% of the
population was infected.
This rose to 3% in 1996 then soared to
10% in 1999, causing 310,000 deaths in that year alone. This
rising figure prompted the government to launch a five year plan
designed to combat AIDS/HIV and sexually transmitted infections
and SANAC, (the South Africa AIDS Council) was
In South Africa
the primary infection route is through heterosexual sex however
pregnancy is also a major infection cause. As such, its of
concern that 80% of infected people aged 20-24 are female
infecting 40,000 children each and every year. There are
variations between provinces with over a third of pregnant women
in KwaZulu-Natal province being infected.
Poverty in South
Africa is already rife and the loss of an adult carer such as a
mother have have serious consequences with older children having
to fulfil that role, provide care themselves to younger siblings
and often having to give up school in order to do so. Again, the
loss of an adult, particularly a male father can plunge a family
into further poverty from which there is little or no escape.
In this video
documentary a group of South African children talk about HIV /
AIDS, how its affected their communities and families and the
impact of programs to address the issue which current figures
suggest is levelling out and dropping for some age groups. The map below
shows HIV rates for each state where it can be seen that
Mpumalang has the highest rate of 35.5% ~ perhaps not
surprisingly as it borders Swaziland, the country with the
highest infection rate in the world.