Social Development gives clarity to Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s remarks on HIV/AIDS

While addressing the opening of the 7th African Population Conference at the Saint George Hotel, Irene, Minister for Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, erroneously mentioned that the HIV prevalence rate among students attending institutions of higher learning in South Africa ‘had risen to more than 40%’.

In fact, what Minister Dlamini wanted to highlight was the 2008/09 findings of the study on sexual behaviour among students in higher education institutions conducted by the Higher Education and Training HIV/Aids programme (HEAIDS), which pointed out that when sexually active students were asked whether they had more than one sex partner in the last year, 41% said yes.

Minister Dlamini’s message was that if the spread of HIV among the youth in South Africa is not curbed, it would be difficult for the country to achieve the demographic dividend.

The HEAIDS study provides the latest data on HIV prevalence among students in the higher education sector. It found the mean prevalence of HIV among all students was 3.4%. A prevalence of 3.8% was found among students who were sexually active – lower than the national HIV prevalence rate estimate of 11.2%.

The Department of Social Development and Minister Dlamini regret the error.


Lumka Oliphant

Cell: 083 484 8067