Fighting the ‘pandemic’ is everyone’ s duty

2015-08-06 06:00

AMID the growing challenge of HIV and Aids in the province, the Royal Fire International Ministry in Pietemaritzburg last week hosted a “people’s health summit” to assess the provincial response towards the pandemic.

The summit of 240 delegates was also aimed at coming up with an action plan on how the pandemic can be curbed. Provincial chairperson of Treatment Action Campaign (Tac), Mzamo Zondi said while HIV and Aids remain the gravest development challenge for the province, the aim is to come up with an intervention plan and intensify interventions.

“We believe the most important thing the province must do is to speed up the process of distributing condoms in schools because parents’ fears are unwarranted. The available evidence does not indicate that the provision of condoms to young people leads to increased or earlier sexual activity.

“It is irresponsible to formulate a policy on the unsupported supposition that condoms increase sexual activity. The first step is to focus more on behavioural change interventions among all groups with messages on discouraging multiple partnerships.”

He said leadership, including mayors and councillors, should spearhead HIV prevention campaigns.

Resolutions of the summit included:

• KZN must increase focus on socio-cultural factors that hinder behaviour change. Communities and families will be empowered to address the socio-cultural drivers of HIV through context-specific interventions.

•Gender-based violence is a violation of human rights and it limits the right of entry to services. Domestic violence and sexual assault fuels HIV infection, stigma and discrimination. Central to prevention efforts is a target to reduce the incidence rate of sexual assault and child abuse.

•Men forums must be expanded and encourage positive role models among men, including those in the struggle against gender-based violence, and discovering ways to help men refrain from violence must be an important part of society and government’s response. And that traditional leaders must be involved and become leaders in HIV prevention, treatment and care

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