The Impact of HIV/AIDS on the Health Sector. National Survey of Health Personnel, Ambulatory and Hospital Patients and Health Facilitiesby SHISANA, O., HALL, E., MALULEKE, K.R., STOKER, D.J., SCHWABE, C., COLVIN, M., CHAUVEAU, J., BOTHA, C., GUMEDE, T., FOMUNDAM, H., SHAIKH, N., REHLE, T., UDJO, E., GRISSELQUIST, D., 2002
South African Medical Journal, 94(10), 846. South African Department of Health and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
Studies on HIV prevalence among health workers usually focus on occupational exposure to HIV, but little is known about the overall prevalence of HIV in this group. The aim of this study is to determine HIV prevalence among South African health workers. A stratified cluster sample was drawn of 5% of health facilities representative of the public and private health sectors in South Africa, which was designed to obtain a nationwide representative sample of medical professionals and non-professional health workers. A subsample of health workers in four provinces was tested for HIV status. The study found that an estimated 15.7% of health workers employed in the public and private health facilities in four provinces were living with HIV/AIDS in 2002. Among younger health workers, the risk was much higher, with an estimated HIV prevalence of 20%. The prevalence among non-professionals was 20.3%, while it was 13.7% among professionals. The high prevalence of HIV among health workers in South Africa calls for antiretroviral programmes targeting them. In addition, there is a need for a new policy on the placement of infected health workers in tuberculosis wards, coupled with vigorous human resource planning to replace the health workers likely to die from AIDS. Infection control procedures also need to be reviewed.