Life beyond HIV/AIDS

2015-12-03 06:00
Dr Tracey Naledi, chief director of Western Cape Health Programs, Dr Beth Engelbrecht, head of health western cape government health, Andile Madondo, Phumeza Runeyi, youth and child advisor for MSF and Dr Virginia de Azevedo, the City Health Manager

Dr Tracey Naledi, chief director of Western Cape Health Programs, Dr Beth Engelbrecht, head of health western cape government health, Andile Madondo, Phumeza Runeyi, youth and child advisor for MSF and Dr Virginia de Azevedo, the City Health Manager

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Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, the MEC for Health, has encouraged the youth to get tested for HIV/Aids during a commemoration event held on World Aids Day at the O.R Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha.

Mbombo said it is important to know about the HIV status early so that those who tested positive start taking medication sooner.

“Some do not want to know their HIV status, because they think that if they tested positive, it means they were going to die. Testing positive does not mean you were misbehaving. You do not get HIV only by engaging sexually.

Some were born HIV positive. You must know your HIV status. You must delay sex when you are young. Do not be ashamed to get tested. Once you know your status early, you will soon start getting treatment,” she said.

Dr Virginia de Azevedo, the City Health Manager in Khayelitsha, said there are plans underway to find a solution to the disease.

“We are determined to find a way to turn things around,” Azevedo said.

The event was also attended by organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), TB/HIV Care Association Zip Zap Circus and other organisations.

An Art for Art Mural Painting, which aims to spread the message about HIV/Aids, was also revealed on the day.

The painting, which will be displayed for five years, shown an image of Thembisa Bobo, 25, who is outspoken about her HIV positive status.

Bobo found out about her status in 2008.

Like many others who reveal their HIV positive status, she was also discriminated against by some of her relatives and residents, but that did not stop her from spreading awareness about it.

“It is important to be honest and speak out about your HIV status. It was not easy for me after some of my relatives found out about my status, I was discriminated against. That made me strong instead of breaking me, because they made things easy for me as they let anyone know that I am HIV positive. I want people not to feel ashamed about their status. Most people find it easy to judge HIV positive people, but they do not know their own status,” Bobo said.

Phumeza Runeyi, youth and child advisor for MSF, said people must use condoms every time they get intimate.

She said they targeted youth to attend the event because they are a “vulnerable” group.

“There is life beyond HIV. Everyone must know his or her HIV status.

We decided to do the paining as new way of raising awareness about HIV, because residents will see it every time they pass the hall and they will not forget about the campaign,” Runeyi said.

The World AIDS Day is held annually on December 01 worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.

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