A union representing South African soldiers is to take the country's armed forces to court on Thursday over alleged discrimination against HIV-infected personnel, the union said on Wednesday.
The South African Security Forces' Union (Sasfu) accuses the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) of discriminating against HIV-infected people by refusing them employment, promotion or deployment to foreign posts.
"They have got a policy of mandatory testing. Being HIV-negative is a pre-requisite to gain employment in the SANDF," said Sasfu deputy president Charles Jacobs.
He said after being employed, members of the military had to undergo mandatory HIV testing once a year during a health assessment, and every time they applied for a promotion or deployment overseas.
Jacobs said South Africa was the only country in the world whose military operated under these "unconstitutional" policies.
With five-and-a-half million HIV infections in a population of 48-million, South Africa has one of the world's worst Aids problems, and according to Khumalo up to 35% of defence-force personnel were infected in 2004.
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