Youth at forefront of HIV dialogue

2016-07-27 06:00

ETHEKWINI youth were provided with an invaluable opportunity of lending their voice and talking about HIV and Aids.
Hundreds of youth engaged with officials from all spheres of government as part of a youth dialogue at the Hilton Hotel, on 7 July. The dialogue was held 11 days before the city hosted the 21st International Aids Conference at the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 18 to 22 July.
Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Performance, Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration, Jeff Radebe said it is imperative for youth to talk about issues that directly affect them.
“We aim to combat the spread of the disease. Our youth are both infected and affected by HIV/Aids and require as much information and dialogue as possible around the issue. They are our future leaders and must be part of the plight to rid the coming generations of the disease.”
Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said South Africa has one of the highest prevalence of HIV in the world. He said however, that strides have been made through programmes such as the Mother-to-child Transmission Programme, which yielded good results.
“In 2004 about 70 000 infants were born with HIV, currently we have reduced that number to about 6 000,” he said.
During a panel discussion it emerged that South Africa has the largest antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programme in the world. However panellists emphasised that prevention is better than cure. MEC for Health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo said South Africa has been commended for its access to ARV treatment with 3.4 million people currently on treatment.
eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo said the Aids conference was being held in the city at an opportune time.
“The conference was key to finding solutions to add to the programmes currently tackling HIV/Aids.
“We were proud to host the conference in our city and look forward to engaging with thought leaders and experts about how we can achieve the ultimate goal of an HIV-free generation,” he said.
Some of the issues raised by the youth included assistance from government regarding interventions, tackling the lack of communication between communities and access to condoms and contraceptives.
The two-day children and HIV symposium was held in Durban on 15 and 16 July, where critical issues relating to the prevention and management of the disease among children and youth under the theme “Children and HIV: Equity Now” were discussed.
- Supplied.

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