Key facts

  • In 2008, 10.9% of all South Africans aged over 2 years—around 5 million people—were living with HIV, more than in any other country in the world.
  • The country has a higher HIV prevalence among females than males. Among females, HIV prevalence is highest in those aged between 25 and 29 years; among males, the peak is in the group aged between 30 and 34 years.
  • In 2005, the rate of new infections for females was 3.6%, compared with 1.5% for males.
  • The prevalence of HIV is highest among black South Africans and lowest among whites and Indians. 
  • More than a third of men taking part in a 2010 survey in the Gauteng province admitted to committing rape, while a quarter of the women said they had been raped. 
  • Only 1 of 9 South African rape victims reported the attack to the police.
  • Less than 5% of rape cases that go to court in South Africa result in a conviction. 
  • Violent or forced sex can increase the risk of transmitting HIV. 
  • ‘Corrective rape’, whereby men claim to ‘cure’ homosexual women by raping them, occurs in South Africa.

(Sources: South African National HIV survey 2008, Human Sciences Research Council 2005, Medical Research Council study on sexual violence 2005, Sexual Violence Research Initiative, MRC 2010)

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