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article imageSouth African Army doesn’t discriminate against soldiers with HIV

By Christopher Szabo     Mar 30, 2010 in World
Pretoria - The South African Army doesn’t discriminate against soldiers, regardless of their HIV Positive status, but soldiers deployed on peacekeeping missions are healthy, the Army Chief says.
This follows a report by the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) that a clearer understanding of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) allowed the military to deploy asymptomatic HIV-positive soldiers, increasing the number of troops on active service. Defenceweb reported.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, according to the AIDS Foundation of South Africa. According to the foundation’s website, the worldwide total of HIV infections was 33,4 million, of which sub-Saharan Africa represented about two-thirds, or 22,4 million people living with HIV. Of this, South Africa had 5,3 million HIV-positive people out of a population of close to 50 million.
Chief of the Army Lieutenant General Solly Shoke told journalists at a press conference last week:
We deploy people who are healthy, irrespective of their status. I'm sure you'll agree with me that you don't expect me to send someone who is near his death to a place like Sudan … because I think I may be held criminally liable for his death. So we do it in a responsible manner, we send people abroad for deployment who are healthy for that particular deployment, irrespective of their status.
The South African Security Forces Union (SASFU) took the SANDF to court in 2007 Because of its HIV policies.
Head of the AIDS Law Project, the University of the Witwatersrand’s Mark Heywood said there was no basis for believing HIV-positive people were physically unfit or mentally unstable.
More about South Africa, Army, HIV, Discrimination
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