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South African Government Raises AIDS Estimate

A new report issued by the South African government indicates more than six million people in the country are HIV-positive, a much higher figure than previously thought.

The Department of Health says a study of women at pre-natal clinics in 2004 suggests that about six and a half million South Africans carry the virus that causes AIDS.

The figures are in marked contrast to a study earlier this year by the State Statistical Agency, which estimated that about four and a half million South Africans are infected with HIV.

Business Day newspaper quotes the Health Department's head of health monitoring and evaluation, Lindy Makubalo as saying the variation in estimates is due to differences in methodology. She says the Health Department follows methodology developed by the United Nations.

Some information provided by reuters, sapa, and business day

reuters, sapa, business day