SA men 'must help curb Aids'

2009-08-29 14:05

Johannesburg - South African men can actively help in curbing the rates of new HIV infections by taking responsibility for their actions, the SA National Aids Council (Sanac) said on Saturday.

"It is important that men actively take up the battle in curbing the rate of new HIV infections... firstly by understanding their bodies, having safe sex, treating STIs [sexually transmitted infections] and testing for HIV," said Sanac's Nomfundo Eland.

She was speaking at the launch of the Brothers for Life Campaign in KwaMashu outside Durban.

The campaign seeks to encourage all South African men to open dialogue, debate and negotiate issues critical to preventing new HIV infections.

"Working with men as partners is very important in changing gender norms that perpetuate the spread of Aids," said Eland.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe also addressed the gathering, saying social partnerships were important elements in the government's continued fight against HIV infections.

"Government supports all initiatives to minimise HIV infections, strengthen family values and contribute towards the rebuilding of the moral fabric of society.

"Government's key approach to dealing with HIV remains prevention, treatment, care and support, which requires invigorated social partnerships," he said.

The Brothers for Life manifesto calls on men to stick to one partner, to make no excuses for unprotected sex even after consuming alcoholic drinks, to respect and support their partners and to understand that "choices they make today will determine their future".

Brothers for Life was launched in partnership with Sanac, the department of health, Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa, the United States Agency for International Development, Sonke Gender Justice and the United Nations systems in SA.