The geographical focus area for the work of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust is the semi-rural and poverty torn communities of the Valley of a Thousand Hills – about 50 km northwest of Durban, bordering on the town of Hillcrest in the KwaZulu-Natal
Unemployment in the area is high, approximately 45%. In some areas this can be as high 80% unemployment. This contributes to the general under nourishment, poor health and emotional and physical insecurity of the area. Many children have only one meal a day, at school, and this will consist of beans and possibly cabbage.
The Valley of 1000 Hills is considered one of the epicentres of the HIV/AIDS pandemic with HIV infection rates as high as 60% in some communities. The majority of the homes are informal dwellings, without basic services (water, sanitation, refuse removal) though a number now have electricity.
In South Africa, it is estimated that 35-40% of adults are infected, and there are more than 300,000 children who are AIDS orphans. The highest rate of new infection is among adolescence with a ratio of 2 girls to each boy being infected.