HIV infection 'bonus' for whoonga addicts

2011-02-06 17:52

Johannesburg - For youths addicted to whoonga, an HIV infection is a “bonus” because it gives them access to the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs used in the mixture.
The drug efavirenz, which is prescribed under its brand name, Stocrin, to HIV-positive patients on ARV treatment, is one of the ingredients used to make whoonga.

Vumani Gwala runs Project Whoonga, a community organisation aimed at educating youths in KwaDabeka and Clermont near Durban about the dangers of drugs.

Clermont has been identified as the township with the highest prevalence of whoonga use and addiction in the country. Whoonga is sold there for as little as R20 and is popular among the 15, 16 and 17-year-old age group.

Gwala said its widespread use had led to a dramatic increase in crime in the township.

“To the addicts it’s a matter of life and death to get the drug. It does not matter how they get it,” he said.

Carol du Toit of the SA National Council on Alcoholism and Drugs in Durban said there had been a steady increase in whoonga use in the past six months.

Du Toit said although Stocrin had been widely used in whoonga in the past two years, it now appeared heroin was fast becoming the more popular choice.

She said whoonga sellers targeted economically depressed areas like informal settlements and townships with high unemployment and poverty levels.

Gwala said whoonga street sellers were very often “poor youth in the community and the best place for them to do business is schools. So our aim is to go to schools and teach about drugs. Basically we want to get to the child before the drug dealers do,” she said.

Still, Du Toit pointed out that while drugs like whoonga, nyaope and tik were a menace, alcohol still remained the ­biggest problem among South African youths.


  • braveinternetguy - 2011-02-06 18:39

    Natural selection will solve so many problems in the long run.

  • Cyril - 2011-02-06 18:53

    This is Just so completely FUKKED UP!!!

  • AJ - 2011-02-07 05:25

    The most valuable commodity for any country is it's people. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, yeah we'll be just fine... not.

  • cosmic_99 - 2011-02-07 08:27

    What a sick society we live in. Yet another example of where my hard earned tax money goes...

  • peter.j.solomon - 2011-02-07 09:55

    Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

      pointblankza - 2011-02-08 11:55

      Lovely... (sarcasm)

  • rachelwork4u - 2011-02-24 04:53

    I have HIV and I am an engineer who works for the largest STD dating and support site POZmingle. com. I have to tell you a secret, you can choose not to believe me. But the truth is that this site has more than 1,880,000 members and about 80% members are good looking in my estimation. Unfortunately, STD rates soar worldwide and most people with STDs don't even know that they have them. The government should grant more money for STD education to lower the rates of STD transmission.

  • anderskelto - 2011-03-04 10:30

    There are no ARVs in 'Whoonga.' 'Whoonga' is a drug that has been around Durban for a long time, under the name 'Sugars.' It's low-grade heroin mixed with rat poison and detergent. The media are fueling this ARV myth, and it's creating a lot of unnecessary fear and paranoia. Here are two reports (with evidence, as opposed to hearsay) that tell the real story of "Whoonga':

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