[Mar 17, 2005]
About 30% to 45% of agriculture workers in South Africa are HIV-positive, which could have a "major effect" on farm production "in the next few years," a senior official from the Netherlands embassy in South Africa said at the National African Farmers' Union summit on Monday, South Africa's Business Day reports.
Gretha Kostwinder based her projection on results from recent data collected by Agri AIDS, an HIV/AIDS awareness initiative that targets farm workers and provides services for the disease. "This pilot program of Agri AIDS brings AIDS treatment to farmlands where most workers cannot travel to receive treatment," she said (Njobeni, Business Day, 3/15). Currently, South Africa has about 200 HIV/AIDS treatment centers on farms, and approximately 1,000 workers are accessing treatment services, according to Kostwinder. In addition, she said about 25% of "economically active people" in South Africa are expected to die of AIDS-related causes in the next five to 10 years, according to the South African Press Association (South African Press Association, 3/14).