Aids ‘tree-shirt’: pen a positive line

2009-11-30 00:00

SAY hello to the Aids Tree.

Better yet, the next time you happen to drive down Prince Alfred Street and have a pen handy, take a minute or two to park off on the side and write a message of hope on the Aids “Tree-shirt” in commemoration of World Aids Day tomorrow.

The brainchild of the Msunduzi Municipality, the Aids Tree is an innovative way to draw attention to the Aids and HIV pandemic, said Msunduzi’s HIV and Aids manager, Thandeka Khumalo.

“It’s a creative and different type of awareness. We would like to encourage as many people as possible to visit the Aids Tree,” she said.

Should you happen to come across the tree and not have a pen, don’t worry. You can still take time to read the inspirational messages, and the municipality has also provided free condoms to visitors on site.

Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo said it is worrying that recently released statistics indicate that the incidence of HIV infection in the Pietermaritzburg area is among the highest in South Africa.

“I will be going for an HIV and Aids test to encourage others to do the same. It’s important for people to know their status so that they can take the necessary precautions,” she said.

Hlatshwayo said the municipality’s HIV and Aids programme has been given a boost by the Premier’s office this year and they are going all-out to make sure that as many city residents as possible are informed.

• Need a hug? Embrace the Aids Tree on Prince Alfred Street between Boshoff and Albert Luthuli.

•The municipality’s HIV and Aids week programme is as follows: tomorrow and Wednesday at Liberty Midlands Mall, Thursday at Scottsville Mall and Friday at Church Street Mall in front of Mr Price.

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