Preventing HIV/AIDS, South Africa

project partner:Oxfam/Lifeline & RapeCrisis
location Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
funding period 2003

summary HIV/AIDS has become the single biggest killer in Southern Africa. In South Africa it is estimated that 5 million people are currently living with the virus and that their life expectancy is less than five years.

Oxfam has been working in South Africa for over 30 years, where KwaZulu-Natal province is the epicentre of the AIDS pandemic with between 80,000-100,000 people infected,  but as few as 10% are aware of their HIV status. Oxfam is working with partners as part of the Msunduzi Aids Strategy, a local government initiative working on a 'best practice' response to HIV/Aids.  Drawing on all key players in the City into a co-ordinated effort - one of only two such projects world-wide using this approach with promising results.

In 2003, Trade plus Aid donated 13,000 to Oxfam in order to employ and train an additional four Social Workers to work for LifeLine & RapeCrisis in Pietermaritzburg, who specialise in working with the survivors of rape to prevent new HIV infections and to provide counselling.

South Africa has the highest per capita rate of reported rape in the world and many more rapes go unreported as children, the young and women raped within a relationship are much less likely to report rape to the authorities. An independent medical study published in March 2003, estimated that in South Africa fully one third of children under eighteen had been victims of sexual abuse.

The Social Workers were based at strategic centres, local hospitals, a Rape Crisis Centre and a Police sexual assault unit. They are available to provide emergency assistance plus on-going counselling, advice and support to ensure that rape survivors receive anti-AIDS treatment, HIV testing, legal advice and access to a Woman's Refuge.

Project Update Reports

For original project proposal, click here.

For further information on Oxfam visit

For further information on LifeLine & RapeCrisis PMB visit

This project is dedicated to the 1998 - 2002 staff: Silvanna Velli, Jaye Fenelon, Olga Andrews, Kasia Krupa and Natasha Tait.

"More than 20,000 rapes of children were reported in 2001 in South Africa."
Human Rights Watch World Report 2003

"Rape Crisis estimates actual figures could be much higher and there are various estimates ranging from twice as high to 20 times higher. An important point is that whatever the true figure - it's far too high!"
Charlotte di Vita MBE

"31 million people live with HIV/AIDS in the developing world. It is ravaging African economies by claiming the young and active."
ActionAid March 2003

"Six young people become infected with HIV every minute."
Save the Children March 2003