News24, 28 November 2002, 'Aids worse in squatter camps'

Johannesburg - The fight against HIV/Aids will not succeed as long as people do not have food, land and jobs, the Gauteng branch of the Landless People Movement (LPM) said on Thursday.

At a media briefing in Braamfontein, the movement said people staying at the informal settlements were the most affected by HIV/Aids.

"The informal settlements are unhygenic, there is no water or toilets, the streets are dirty and the residents cannot even grow vegetables to eat.

"As soon as we get infected, we die early because of our living conditions," LPM spokesperson Grace Masondo said.

She said the movement would launch a "Fight HIV/Aids" campaign on World Aids Day at a rally in Soweto to bring awareness to the world that "the poorest of the poor are being infected everyday and some were dying everyday".

"Our struggle for land will not succeed if we do not join hands to fight HIV/Aids."

She said the group wanted to put pressure on the government to basic health care including Anti-Retrovirals and nevirapine to the people.

"We do not have clinics, how are we expected to survive. The government does not treat us like human beings."

She said there were Aids posters all over Johannesburg and its suburbs reminding the public about World Aids Day but there were none in the informal settlements around the city.

"We want to take the responsibility and teach the landless about prevention (of HIV/Aids infection), and how to take care of themselves," she said.

The LMP would continue its campaign on HIV/Aids even after December 1, she said.

The LPM is an interest group campaigning for land reform, that came to prominence during the World Summit on Sustainable Development earlier this year.