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S Afr Med J. 1989 Oct 7;76(7):314-8.

HIV infection in South Africa, 1982-1988--a review.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, School of Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.


A review of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in South Africa between 1982 -1988 is presented. One hundred and sixty-six cases of AIDS have been seen in South Africa so far, with a mortality rate of 59.2%. There has been a predicted and alarming increase in the number of cases of AIDS in the black population. A total of 1857 HIV antibody-positive sera have been tested by various laboratories in the RSA, but this figure excludes sera found to be positive in the mining industry. The HIV-positive and AIDS cases include members of all population groups. A number of surveillance studies are presented. These revealed that beyond the groups at high risk for HIV infection the prevalence of this infection is still very low. Of an estimated 710,000 blood donors tested, 244 were positive for HIV-1 antibodies. Although 1 case of HIV-2 infection was detected in South Africa, this does not constitute a problem at present. No evidence of infection with HIV-1 was detected in southern and central African sera taken between 1970 and 1974. In the absence of a vaccine and specific treatment a change of sexual behavior to one of safer sex practices through education is the only means we have of containing the spread of the epidemic.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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