East Cape News (Grahamstown)

5 March 2002

South Africa: Daimlerchrysler Workers Still Believe in Sex-With-Virgin Mythical Cure for HIV/Aids

Grahamstown — Shocking results of a Aids awareness survey conducted among the 4500-strong DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) workforce has revealed that 18 percent of hourly-paid staff believe that the cure to the Aids virus is having sex with a virgin.

However, trade union Numsa says it does not believe the research because their members are "well-informed" about the HIV-Aids pandemic.

DCSA health consultant Dr Clifford Panter said the company was concerned about these misconceptions because DCSA workers received some of the best HIV/Aids awareness education in the country.

The three-month survey was conducted by the University of South Africa (Unisa) between May and July last year in an effort "to assess the impact of a three-year comprehensive workplace intervention".

He said: "Maybe the misconceptions are caused by the confusing signals about the cause of HIV/Aids."

He said that between 80 percent of the workforce had a good have basic knowledge of HIV/Aids, but a startling 40 percent believed traditional African remedies could hold the cure for the epidemic.

"Eighteen percent of the hourly paid workers believe having sex with a virgin can cure Aids, but 69 percent expressed a need for more detailed information about the disease and how to prevent and treat it."

Numsa health spokesperson Headman Jass reacted saying they doubted the research findings because workers were "well-educated" about the dangers of HIV/Aids.

Jass said: "The survey was done by an independent group of people and was not verified. I don't believe the workers can still believe the myth that having sex with a virgin can cure Aids."

He said the nine percent of the total work force in East London was HIV positive, while 12 percent of workers in KwaZulu were infected and 5.6 of workers in Pretoria. -- ECN Tuesday 5/2/2 002

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