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Sanele Sano Ngcobo
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HIV/Aids is the most serious threat faced by South African youth

19 June 2017, 13:25
16 June 1976 - I can't celebrate this day, not when 2000 South African young women between the age of 15-24 years get infected with HIV every week. While the Youth of 1976 had to fight against apartheid, the biggest underestimated threat to the Youth of 2017 is HIV/Aids.
Youth leaders have neglected this very important topic. While ARVs have drastically increased life expectancy in SA, it is important to note that the number of HIV positive people is still increasing. I remember few years ago talking about 5 million HIV positive South Africans. Today we have more than 7.1 million HIV positive South Africans. 
HIV isn't business, we must never be selfish and celebrate people making profit  out of HIV epidemic. We must never be comfortable with more people getting infected, we can't celebrate mediocre. Researchers and donors need to be reminded that our main objective is to have an HIV free generation. The 90 90 90 global strategy is problematic in a sense that it doesn't highlight the importance of prevention. How do we explain the fact that we have PreP and it know to be highly effective on prevention but there is no clear strategy of promoting it to the South African youth.  We are promoting ARVs more than we are promoting prevention.
Did we prematurely celebrate the success of ARVs? Did it send a wrong message to those not infected with HIV? The life expectancy have increased by almost 10 years in South Africa,  yes and  thanks to ARVs, but where to from here? With more than 500 new HIV infections everyday, we don't seem to be winning the battle. 
Listening to leaders speaking on the events across the country on the youth day,  none of our leaders seem to understand the seriousness of HIV/Aids. Sometimes I feel like we don't understand the seriousness of this issue. If we continue like this we might have more than 10 million HIV positive South Africans by 2030. 
Young people must rise and prioritise HIV as the most important topic. AIDS remains the only condition that kill more than 100 young South Africans everyday,  no other war in history of SA have murdered so many South Africans. This situation remains extremely abnormal,  other countries don't have so many people dying everyday of HIV, this is affecting our economy. Different studies have shown that young woman between the age of 16 to 23 get infected by older male of age 24 to 35, these woman then come back to infect younger males of their age and the cycle goes on.
It can't be business as usual, this is an extraordinarily difficult situation and it requires extraordinary measures to be taken. 
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.


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