HIV Problem Among White South Africans, Although Many Feel Isolated From Epidemic

Although many white South Africans feel "insulated" from the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the population's HIV prevalence is higher than the prevalence among "any other white population in the world," the South China Morning Post reports. A recent study by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Human Sciences Research Council showed that at least 6% of South Africa's white population is HIV-positive, compared with less than 1% of the white population in Australia and Britain and 10% of South Africa's black population. "These figures came as a surprise to everyone except medical professionals working with patients," Dr. Lynne Webber, a clinical virologist and HIV expert, said, adding, "We see wealthy, middle-class white people every day who are infected." However, many white people continue to feel that the epidemic is "restricted" to South Africa's black population, according to the Morning Post. Dirk Hermann, a spokesperson for Solidarity -- a trade union for mineworkers that primarily represents white workers -- said, "The fact is that whites are just as much part of the pandemic as other groups in South Africa" (Venage, South China Morning Post, 1/2).

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