Drinkers are more likely to be HIV-positive than non-drinkers, a
Medical Research Council representative said on Wednesday.
"A review of more than 20 studies in Africa have indicated that
drinkers are 57 percent more likely to be HIV positive than
non-drinkers," Dr Neo Morofele told a conference on sexual assault
and domestic violence in Benoni, Johannesburg.
South Africans 'heavy drinkers'
South Africa was amongst countries with the highest drinking
levels in the world, she told a packed room during the conference,
hosted by USAid and the SA Population Council.
"Levels of drinking are extremely high with plus-minus 17 litres
consumed by one person per year. It has been proven that alcohol
leads to violence and it makes one aggressive."
South Africa gained R12 billion in tax revenue a year from
The burden of alcohol abuse
Morofele said there was more than a single strategy to reduce
the burden of alcohol abuse.
She cited amongst other measures such as lessening access to alcohol by changing the minimum purchasing age and hours of sale. Other suggestions were increasing excise taxes on alcohol, and intensifying education as well as ensuring treatment at an early stage of problematic drinking.
According to a Population Council booklet distributed at the conference, adult men and the handicapped were often neglected in research and intervention when it came to gender violence and abuse. Gender-based violence and forced sex were highly prevalent in sub-saharan Africa.
A violent country
"In South Africa seven percent of 15-to-19-year-olds have been assaulted in the past 12 months by a current or ex-partner, while 10 percent of 15- to-19-year-olds were forced to have sex against their will." - (Sapa, May 2009)
Early HIV treatment best