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By Collette Schulz-Herzenberg

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Extra info for A Lethal Cocktail: Exploring the Impact of Corruption on HIV AIDS Prevention and Treatment Efforts in South Africa

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HIV/AIDS infections vary across age groups, with the highest infection rates in the 20 to early 30s age group (HSRC 2005). HIV/AIDS is also found in every race group, although prevalence amongst blacks is substantially greater. The socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS is profound and manifests primarily among individuals and households. The time span of the infection is now sufficiently long to have a visible impact on the health of the individual. The increased burden of illness and death attributable to HIV/AIDS, especially in rural and lower-income households, has weakened households and communities, also creating a growing phenomenon of child-headed households and almost a million orphans (Booysen et al 2002).

TI’s 2002 Global Corruption Barometer found that 83 per cent of South Africans felt that corruption affected their personal and family lives significantly – 57 per cent very significantly, and 26 per cent somewhat significantly – while only 17 per cent felt it had little impact (TI 2003:20). The same report shows a relatively high number of respondents in South Africa choosing medical services as their first choice for eliminating corruption from an institution. Of 12 institutions, medical services appear as the fourth choice (11%), after the police service (24%), political parties (21%) and the education system (14%) (TI 2003:31).

NGOs and CBOs are able to extend services that government is unable to provide directly, filling gaps in the health and welfare systems. A 2002 study found that the highest percentage of NGOs, numbering over 22 755, were located in the social services sector, while those in health and education totalled 6 517 and 5 730 respectively (Swilling & Russell 2002:28–9). HIV/AIDS-related work is done in all these sectors. In addition, several rights-based campaigns in the HIV/AIDS sector have successfully challenged the state over policy choices on issues of treatment, thus highlighting how the Constitution and Bill of Rights can act as advocacy tools to realise social justice ends.

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