Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Aids poses security risk to South Africa

By Nadia Samie


South Africa’s safety and security could be at risk if the prevalence of HIV/Aids among the South African Police Service is not given the attention it deserves, the International Aids Conference heard in Toronto, Canada last night.

Police live and work in an environment that increases their risk of HIV infection, yet despite this, reports indicate that over two-thirds of police in the Johannesburg area have received no HIV/Aids awareness training.

More startling, according to iafrica.com, is the fact that fifty-percent of police commanders indicated that HIV/Aids is not their responsibility, while fifty-percent of police overall have not seen the SAPS HIV/Aids policy.

Senior Superintendent Magda Loubscher, the head of the police’s HIV section however disagrees with the report, says that a strategy had been implemented, which is aimed at creating awareness among police, preventing new infections and building capacity.

South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV/Aids in the world, with five million people infected.

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