Reports: 498 HIV+ women forcibly sterilised

A survey by the HSRC has revealed the women underwent the medical procedure against their wishes.

FILE. A survey by the HSRC has revealed the women underwent the medical procedure against their wishes. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Health has come under fire after reports that nearly 500 HIV positive women, many of them in the Western Cape, were forcibly sterilised.

_The Times _newspaper is reporting that a survey by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) revealed 498 women underwent the medical procedure against their wishes.

The practice has been described as horrific, with the Democratic Alliance saying it's raised the matter with the Western Cape Health MEC.

The DA's Lorraine Botha said, "I think it's a gross violation. If we go back to history and where we come from, to have the human rights that we have today, this is a gross violation of human rights."

But the department's Popo Maja said forced sterilisation is not a government policy.

"It is a violation of a person's human rights. No person can be forced to undergo any medical procedure without their consent, unless it's meant to save that person's life."

LISTEN: Professor Helen Rees of the Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute discusses South Africa's complacency towards HIV/AIDS.