Mandeni is the AIDS stronghold of the world

In 1997, the township of Sundumbili in Mandeni was described in the South African magazine Drum as the "AIDS capital of KwaZulu/Natal". A representative test among factory workers in the iSithebe industrial settlement showed a rate of 88% HIV-positive results even then. 76% of HIV tests at the Sundumbili clinic are HIV positive (January 2004).

This means that the Mandeni area has achieved a sad world record that no one is proud of and no one will propose for inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records.

The fact is that we are in the middle of it and that the public and private health systems are absolutely overwhelmed by it. The Church cannot and must not stand by and shrug its shoulders, but must mobilise all the forces at its disposal. In the months since the tsunami catastrophe in East Asia, the world public and above all the Church have shown in an unprecedented solidarity that miraculous things can still be achieved today if everyone stands together and helps and gives what they can, just as the disciples at the multiplication of the loaves gave everything they had in their hands and Christ then worked the miracle that everyone got what they needed. The AIDS wave here is a much worse catastrophe because it has not only caused a one-time flood, but the whole country is continuously inundated with AIDS and the level is constantly rising, leaving us little hope for a decline in the near future.

According to UNAIDS, 25 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living with the HIV virus in their bodies and close to 2.5 million died as a result of AIDS in 2004.

Last year, 76% of HIV tests in our catchment area were positive, which means that in the Mandeni area alone, almost 200,000 people will die of AIDS within a few years.

In this unprecedented mass catastrophe, we cannot stand idly by and watch, but must do whatever we can to push back the tide and assist the victims of this unique tragedy. Every day, up to five patients die in our hospice alone as a result of AIDS, we have cared for thousands through outpatient care, day care and inpatient care and accompanied well over a thousand on their last earthly journey in death.

  • According to UNAIDS (as of the end of 2004), sub-Saharan Africa has just over 10% of the world's population, but 60% (25.4 million) of the world's HIV-infected people.
  • Of these, 13.3 million are women and 3.1 million are newly infected.
  • In 2004, 2.3 million people died in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of AIDS and in the past 25 years, the figure has been more than 20 million.
  • No country in the world has more HIV infected people than South Africa with 5.3 million infected people.
  • The South African Broadcasting Corporation reported on 30 March 2005 that specialists estimate that by 2010 a total of 5 million people will have died of AIDS in South Africa. This means that by 2010, two-thirds of South Africans will have died of AIDS or AIDS-related diseases.
  • From 2001 to 2011, the birth rate will decrease by 25% and in the same period the death rate will increase by 33%.
  • By 2010, 7 million people in South Africa will be infected with HIV. These predictions are based on the latest statistics from the United Nations and Statistics South Africa.
  • The increase in life expectancy that had been evident since the mid-20th century has reversed since the mid-1990s and will continue to fall over the next two decades. In 2000, the life expectancy of a newborn South African was 56 years; by 2010 it will be only 41 years.
  • Between 1997 and 2002, the number of people dying in South Africa increased by 57%; in the 25-49 age group, the increase was 116%.
  • In 2010, there will be 18 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Every 6th second, a person is infected with HIV somewhere in the world. Every ten seconds, a patient dies of AIDS worldwide.

Statistical overview




south of the Sahara









HIV infected people







5,6 Million

25,4 Million


37,8 Million

of which women (15-49)


3,1 Million

13,3 Million


17 Million

of which children (0-15)



1,9 Million


2,1 Million

thereof babies






Of which newly infected



3,1 Million


4,8 Million

of which HIV infected orphans (0-17)



9,6 Million


11,5 Million

Orphans due to AIDS (0-17)


1,1 Million

12,1 Million


15 Million

AIDS deaths



2,3 Million

< 1.000

2,9 Million

Proportion of people infected with HIV in the total population






* i.e. sub-Saharan Africa has 10% of the world's population but 60% of all HIV infected people.

Sources: UNAIDS, South African Department of Health, SABC, HIVAN, AVERT