HIV/AIDS Awareness and Attitudes among Mine Workers: A Case Study
Prof Christo Van Wyk.
The study aims at unpacking the awareness level and attitudes of mineworkers regarding HIV/AIDS. It focuses on the knowledge level, attitudes, practices and behavioural factors central in influencing the miners' view on the epidemic.
The mineworkers are among the most vulnerable to infection because of the nature of their work and lifestyles. The HIV-infection rate in the mining industry in South Africa is estimated to be between 7 and 17% above other population groups. The social context of dirty, dangerous work and often unpleasant living conditions, with a few opportunities for leisure, create a 'risk-taking environment'.
Findings of in-depth interviews reveal that the mineworkers are fairly knowledgeable about the disease, its modes of transmission, although this in some cases is exaggerated to casual contact, and the methods of prevention.
The restricted opportunities for social support and intimacy are limited, hence these men resort to two readily available forms of entertainment, which are alcohol and sex with casual partners including commercial sex workers.
The study has shed some light on the underlying core problems existing in the mines largely attributing to the rapid spread of the disease. Such problems include lack of proper and effective IEC strategy targeted at the mineworkers to change their sexual behaviours and non-provision of proper accommodation for their entire families. The recommendations made are based on such problems and it is envisaged that such will be used as a guiding tool by the mine management for their future planning.
Prof Christo Van Wyk (South Africa)
Associate Prof in Industrial Sociology
Director : School of Behavioural Sciences Faculty Vaal Triangle
Prof. Van Wyk started as a junior lecturer (in Industrial Sociology) in Dec 1983 at Potch University. Currently he is Director, School of Behavioral Sciences and Associate Professor of Industrial Sociology.
Person as Subject
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)