AIDS patients hurt by South African strike

Aug 25, 2010

(AP) -- Doctors and activists say AIDS patients aren't getting treated because of a nationwide strike in South Africa, the country with the highest incidence of the virus that causes AIDS.

Dr. Ashraf Coovadia said Wednesday his Johannesburg hospital usually sees 60 to 80 and AIDS patients daily, but that has dropped to 20-30 since the strike began a week ago. He says patients may believe the hospital has been closed down by the strike, or fear getting caught in violence that has flared between police and health workers on the picket line.

AIDS activist Mark Heywood says he supports the call for better wages that has led nurses and doctors as well as teachers, court workers and other to strike. But Heywood says that skeleton staff should at least be left to care for patients.

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