South African Medical Journal

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HIV / AIDS prevalence testing - merits, methodology and outcomes of a survey conducted at a large mining organisation in South Africa

W Stevens, A Apostolellis, G Napier, L Scott, G Gresak


Objectives: To determine the HIV prevalence rate at Anglo Platinum, a large, multinational organisation operating in South Africa (Gauteng, Limpopo and North-West), and to assess the merits, methodology and outcomes of the survey.

Methods: A sample of 11 339 individuals, representing 18.4% of the organisation's employees, were tested for HIV. HIV prevalence was determined using the Wellcozyme HIV 1+2 GACELISA test (oral fluid assay), and variables such as age, site, grade and gender were analysed.

Results: The overall prevalence rate was 24.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 20.4 - 28.8), translating into approximately 15 167 HIV-infected individuals. Interestingly, there was considerable variation in prevalence between sites within the same geographical regions, highlighting the limitations of using data obtained from antenatal HIV surveillance surveys. As an example, the prevalence at sites in Limpopo province ranged from 9.8% to 19%, with the same basic demographic data in terms of race, age and gender.

Conclusions: The survey data enabled the organisation to plan resource allocation appropriately for each business unit following their commitment to the treatment of infected employees with antiretroviral therapy. These baseline prevalence data also provide an opportunity for monitoring of proposed interventions using cross-sectional surveys at designated intervals in the future.

South African Medical Journal Vol. 96(2) 2006: 134-139

AJOL African Journals Online