Blood, Guts and Aids in SA’s Army
Pretoria News, Jan. 21
(Found at southafricathetruth.com, a very interesting site. IJ)
The launch of Project Phidisa is set to halt the decimation of South Africa’s Defence Force as the HIV and Aids pandemic rages out of control among the country’s armed forces.
At least one in five of the 70 000 SANDF members are currently infected with the incurable disease, with medical experts predicting the infection rate in the defence force will sky-rocket over the next few years.
The department of defence, together with the United States National Institute of Health, on Tuesday launched Project Phidisa, a national campaign aimed at reducing the HIV and Aids infection rate among SANDF members.
The five-year project, in which clinical research will be conducted at six centres around South Africa, is aimed at developing the most appropriate plan of action on how anti-retrovirals and non anti-retroviral drugs can be administered to SANDF members and their families who volunteer for the project.
Speaking at the launch of Phidisa, Deputy Defence Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge said South Africa needed to have a fighting-fit defence force. “It is therefore imperative that we do everything in our power to ensure that our soldiers are healthy and that we show them that we have not given up on them,” she said.
Major-General Mokhethi Radebe, military health force preparation chief director, confirmed that 23 percent of the SANDF was suspected of being HIV-positive. He could not give the exact infection rate figure as HIV and Aids testing was done on a purely voluntary basis.