It’s not just a job. It’s an infection risk.

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The HIV infection rate among soldiers in South Africa’s National Defence Force may be as high as 60 to 70 percent, the Johannesburg MAIL & GUARDIAN reports. In some areas, the picture is even more bleak. One unit in KwaZulu-Natal underwent HIV-testing as part of a thorough physical before participating in a malaria drug study. When thirty out of the thirty-three member unit proved HIV-positive — an infection rate of 90 percent — the drug study had to be abandoned.

And South Africa doesn’t even win this grim race. The overall infection rates in the militaries of Malawi and Zimbabwe, at 75 and 80 percent, are worse still.

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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