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Int J STD AIDS. 2000 Jan;11(1):21-6.

Going underground and going after women: trends in sexual risk behaviour among gold miners in South Africa.

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  • Research Division, Population Services International, Washington, DC 20036, USA. dmeekers@psiwash.org


This paper examines trends in risk behaviour among South African gold miners, a population with an estimated HIV prevalence of 10-20%. The study is based on a 1995 and 1997 survey of a random sample gold miners in the town of Welkom, South Africa. The results show that the percentage of miners who perceived they were likely to contract HIV increased from 33% in 1995 to 35% in 1997 (P<0.01). The percentage who had 4 or more partners in the past year decreased from 25% to 13% (P < 0.01), and the percentage whose last sexual partner was their spouse increased from 56% to 70% (P<0.01). Condom use in last intercourse with a spouse increased from 18% to 26% (P < 0.05). Condom use with other partners was considerably higher (67%), but did not increase significantly from 1995. The most likely contributors to this behaviour change were the AIDS awareness programmes implemented by the mining industry and the behaviour change communications of a condom social marketing campaign targeted at miners and commercial sex workers in the mining community.

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