An estimated 12.2 percent of South Africa's
population was infected with the HIV virus in 2012, compared with
10.6 percent in 2008, according to a survey of 38,000 people carried
out by the country's Human Sciences Research Council.
The percentage rise was partly due to 400,000 new HIV cases in the
year studied, the highest in the world, taking the total number of
people infected in South Africa to 6.4 million.
Young black African women were the worst affected, with 23.2 percent
of females aged 15-49 infected, compared with 18.8 percent of men,
the study showed.
Treatment of the virus is increasing, with around 2 million people
on an expanded antiretroviral treatment plan.
However, the study found the overall knowledge about how HIV is
transmitted and can be prevented fell to 26.8 percent in 2012, from
30.3 pct in 2008.
Three-quarters of those surveyed believed they were at low risk of
contracting HIV, even though one-in-ten of those tested were found
to be already infected.
South Africans under 50 were having increasing numbers of sexual
partners and using condoms less.
"The increases in some risky sexual behaviors are disappointing, as
this partly accounts for why there are so many new infections still
occurring," said Professor Leickness Simbayi, an investigator on the
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Despite a government push to spread the treatment of HIV, medical
charities warned last year that many clinics were running short of
life-saving HIV/AIDs drugs.
South Africa awarded a $667 million two-year contract in 2012 to
pharmaceutical firms, including Aspen Pharmacare, Abbott
Laboratories and Adcock Ingram, to supply HIV/AIDS medication.
(Reporting by Joe Brock; editing by Stella Mapenzauswa)
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