SWEETWATERS, South Africa (BP)--Walk the dusty paths of Sweetwaters, a rural community nestled in the hills of South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province, and signs of death are everywhere. Nearly every house has up to a dozen graves in the yard -- most are only a few years old and most are there because of AIDS.
Young Bongiwe plays in her front yard while her 16-year-old sister Xoliswa washes clothes in a metal tub. Nearby, 11 graves bear mute witness to the fact that all the adults in their family are dead because of AIDS. Xoliswa now cares for the little ones.
Earlier this year, infant Seth and his 3-year-old brother Nzuzo were buried alive by their mother who was dying of AIDS. A neighbor discovered them, rescuing the brothers from certain death. Seth has AIDS. Their mother is now dead and the whereabouts of their father is unknown.
Recently 17-year-old Msizi, seven months pregnant and an AIDS patient, died. Her baby was still alive within her, but there was no way to deliver it. AIDS claimed two victims that day, not just one.
An estimated 5.6 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS in South Africa -- the world's highest number -- and the KwaZulu province has the highest infection rate in the country. In Sweetwaters, more than 50 percent of the population has the disease. Read More