Hact offers Festive cheer

2016-12-20 06:01
 Photo: supplied Hact staff (from left) Linda Chule, Olivia Myeza, Sbu Mthethwa and Paula Thomson.

Photo: supplied Hact staff (from left) Linda Chule, Olivia Myeza, Sbu Mthethwa and Paula Thomson.

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HILLCREST Aids Centre Trust (Hact) marked World Aids Day by holding a candle-lighting ceremony at its centre to remember those who have died due to Aids-related illnesses over the past year.
The centre also held its annual World Aids Day Christmas Market to assist its many community crafters who are impacted by HIV/Aids to raise income for their families this festive season.

Hact, a non-profit organisation that responds to the HIV pandemic in a holistic and multifaceted way, operates in the Valley of 1000 Hills region – one of the epicentres of the world’s HIV pandemic, with estimated infection rates as high as 40-60% in some communities.
Founded in 1990 by the Hillcrest Methodist Church, the organisation has seen the pandemic change and evolve over the past 26 years.
Hact celebrated the recent introduction of the “test and treat” approach by the South African Department of Health, which enables people who test positive for HIV to initiate onto ARV treatment immediately.

Hact CEO, Olivia Myeza, said the test and treat approach will save many lives.
“One of the biggest challenges to the HIV response in South Africa has always been that people have had to wait until their CD4 count – a measure of our immune strength – reached a certain low point before starting life-saving ARV medication.
“Now, thanks to the investment made by the Department of Health, everyone has the right to start ARVs as soon as they test positive for HIV, which will mean that people are starting treatment when they are well and strong, thereby dramatically decreasing any negative immune reactions to the medication,” she said.
“We know that treatment also serves as prevention in that once people are on ARVs and are virally suppressed, their chances of passing HIV on to partners or children is decreased.
“So we can anticipate that this new availability of ARV medication will lead to a significant decrease in new HIV infections in the future - this is a huge leap forward and something that we needed to celebrate.” - Supplied.

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