‘Zuma factor’ encouraged HIV talk with partners – survey

2012-07-24 14:30

More than half of South Africans felt more at ease discussing HIV testing with their sex partners after President Jacob Zuma took a public HIV test, a new survey has found.

Zuma took an HIV test in public in 2010 and later disclosed his status.

According to the third South Africa National HIV Communication Survey (NCS), released in Washington DC today, the “Zuma factor” encouraged people to discuss HIV with their sex partners and consider HIV testing.

The survey was conducted by Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa, Soul City and LoveLife.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who was at the launch of the survey findings, said: “I am happy to know that the survey findings reinforce the issue of our belief in the issue of leadership.

“This gives us hope that we can have an Aids-free generation.”

The survey also found that condom use at sex debut increased in South Africa from 18% to 66% in the past ten years.

Lusanda Mahlasela, deputy director of Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa, said: “Although the findings showed an increase in condom use, it also showed that people in steady relationship or those that are married are less likely to use condoms.

Mahlasela added: “We asked the participants who had tested for HIV whether they were willing to disclose their status to the interviewer and we were surprised when well over 86% of them said they were willing.”

Mahlasela attributed this progress to HIV communications programmes such as Soul City, Intersexions and 4 Play: Sex Tips for Girls.

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