The Eastern Cape is bearing a burden of disease displaced from other provinces, the provincial health department said on Tuesday.
Spokesman Sizwe Kupelo was reacting to findings of the third national HIV prevalence survey, which showed a 5% rise in HIV prevalence in the province in people aged 15 to 49 between 2002 and 2008.
Four provinces - the Western Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape and the Free State - reported a drop.
Kupelo said because the Eastern Cape was a largely rural province, with little industry, many people went to other provinces to seek work, on the mines in Gauteng, sugar cane plantations in KwaZulu-Natal and farms in the Western Cape.
"They leave here healthy, when they get sick they are sent home," he said. "This applies not only to HIV, but also to tuberculosis, especially among miners."
Despite the survey figures, the province believed its HIV interventions were having an impact on the ground. "The budget to fight HIV has been increasing steadily," Kupelo said. – (Sapa, June 2009)
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