The North West Health Department says the migration to mining towns such as Rustenburg contributes to the high rate of HIV infections in those areas. The province commemorated World AIDS Day at Mogwase Stadium near Rustenburg on Saturday.

Provincial  Health MEC , Dr Magome Masike says they are  experiencing high HIV and TB infections.

“Mining areas are the worst affected not only in our province but in the country as a whole. There are two mining areas we’ve got in the North West – that is Dr KK and Bojanal – and they are the highest in terms of statistics of HIV and TB.”

Meanwhile, as part of the World Aids day commemoration, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo also visited Moses Kotane Hospital which treats TB patients and has got an MDR TB unit.

He is contend that the province is doing well in managing HIV/AIDS.

“You will also remember that North West used to be among the provinces that were the worst performing in as far as the management, the treatment and the care of people who are affected by HIV/AIDS. Currently , I think we are in the top three of provinces that are doing very well in as far as treatment, care and distribution of Antiretrovirals is concerned,” he said.

Non-governmental organisations which support the Health Department in their fight against HIV/AIDS also believe that there is progress.

Dodo Baloyi, Director for Aurum Institute in the Bojanala District, says, “When we started in the district, the prevalence of HIV/Aids was very high at estimated to be at about 17% average. As we speak right now, it has dropped down to an average of about 10.3%. We are also seeing an increase in the number of people who are on ARV’s.”

The Health Department says their partnership with mining houses has also made health services more accessible to mining communities.

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