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says 6.5 million South Africans are HIV-positive

says 6.5 million South Africans are HIV-positive

More than 6.5 million of South Africa's 47 million people could be infected with HIV, according to a government report released Monday, a sharp increase from previous estimates. A 2004 health ministry survey of more than 16,000 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics indicated between 6.29 million and 6.57 million South Africans were infected with HIV, compared to 5.6 million in 2003. The state statistical service, Statistics SA, put the figure this year at 4.5 million.

Officials quoted by the South African Broadcasting Corp. blamed differences in methodology for the discrepancy.

The annual National HIV and Syphilis Antenatal Sero-Prevalence Survey found 29.5% of pregnant women tested positive for HIV in 2004, compared to 27.9% in 2003. Prevalence increased among all age groups between the two years but was highest in women aged between 25 and 29, nearly 40% of whom tested HIV-positive. (AP)

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