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‘Gender-based violence fuels spread of HIV’

Health officials say young women between the ages of 15-24 have the highest infection rate in SA.

The Department of Health's Yogan Pillay says the number of women contracting HIV weekly remain disturbingly high.Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - As South Africa intensifies its battle against Human Immuno Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (Aids), government says sexual and gender based violence continues to fuel the spread of the virus in the country.

Officials say young women between the ages of 15-24 have the highest infection rate out of the population.

A briefing was held in Pretoria today ahead of the International Aids Conference in Durban later this month.

The Department of Health's Yogan Pillay says a while a number of interventions have been put in place, social ills pose a significant challenge.

"We have about 72,000 young women falling pregnant and delivering in our health facilities every year."

Pillay says the number of women contracting HIV weekly remain disturbingly high.

"We are addressing [this]. We need to address it as a society and not just as government or a government department."

Government says it will use the upcoming Aids conference this month to highlight ways to fight the spread of HIV and bigger societal problems.

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