Friday, June 11, 2010

NYT: Youth League Fights AIDS With Soccer

via New York Times, by Jeré Longman

MAWEWE, South Africa — Far from the World Cup, in this poor, rural village where there are no paved roads, no nets on the goals and no shoes for many of the players, Clement Nkala, 17, sat in a chair in his soccer uniform and held out his finger to be pricked for an H.I.V. test.

In a country where 5.7 million people are infected with the virus that causes AIDS — the most in the world — the problem is particularly acute here in the Nkomazi district of Mpumalanga Province, near South Africa’s eastern border with Swaziland and Mozambique.

Medical workers estimate that 65 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 in this area, slightly smaller in size than Rhode Island, carry H.I.V. and that 5,000 to 8,000 children under the age of 5 have been orphaned.

“I am thinking of my future,” Nkala said Saturday afternoon. “It is important to know your status.”

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