the human immuno-deficiency virus ( hiv) that causes aids , has caught most South Africans unawares. Much of central and east Africa has been invaded by the infection since the 1980s. But in South Africa, the virus is a relatively new arrival, its spread hastened by the opening up of the post-apartheid economy to greater trade and migration flows from the north. In its earliest stages, hiv in South Africa was commonest among white homosexuals. It is now predominantly found among black heterosexuals. At 2.4 million, there are now three times as many people infected with HIV in South Africa as in the US. According to the department of health, since 1991, the rate of hiv infection among pregnant women has spiraled from one per cent to 14 per cent.
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