In November 2007, a national survey was commissioned by Higher Education South Africa (HESA) to establish the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and practices (KABP) related to HIV and AIDS at tertiary institutions and to measure the prevalence levels amongst staff and students. A total of 1 004 people participated at the UFS, comprising 659 students, 85 academic staff and 256 administrative / service staff.

HIV prevalence amongst the services staff was 12, 4%. More females are HIV positive than males (13, 4% versus 10, 2%). Overall, 14% of males and 1% of females reported having had more than one partner in the past month. While general knowledge was adequate amongst service staff members, knowledge about HIV infection via breast feeding was poor, as well as knowledge about testing and the availability of prophylactic drugs for HIV prevention following rape. A recommendation of the study was that the service workers could benefit from in-depth education on HIV and AIDS.

Service staff members who are living with HIV are less likely to belong to a Medical scheme and this has a bearing on the need for treatment of opportunistic infections as well as treating advanced HIV infection and accessing counselling. Service staff is also often excluded from the mainstream of HIV & AIDS information.

The social work students interviewed the services workers from the Department of Physical Resources at the UFS and found that the workers had many questions pertaining to HIV. It was identified that there was a need for HIV education amongst this population group.

On 3 May 2012, service workers gathered for the launch of an educational programme on HIV & AIDS. HIV Office staff will continue this initiative by training the team leaders during July and August 2012, with the training of the workers following from September until November 2012.

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