Epicentre commemorates World Aids Day

2017-12-13 06:01
PHOTOS: Nkosinathi Dlamini At the Epicentre’s commemorations Thami Mbhele (left, BAW Motors) and Nomusa Khumalo (Epicentre).

PHOTOS: Nkosinathi Dlamini At the Epicentre’s commemorations Thami Mbhele (left, BAW Motors) and Nomusa Khumalo (Epicentre).

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EPICENTRE hosted a commemoration of World Aids Day at Camps Drift on December 1, to mark the significance of this day.

Neighbouring companies were invited to the event, which offered free HIV testing.

The programme began by observing a moment of silence and lighting candles in remembrance of those who have been infected or affected by HIV.

“Human immunodeficiency virus, the epidemic virus that has shaken the world and ravaged South African communities, HIV and Aids is one of the biggest challenges we face as a country.

“HIV affects millions of South Africans. It is estimated that more than 4 million South Africans are HIV positive.

“The rate of infection is rapidly increasing with 780 new infections each day.

“It is estimated that six out of every 10 men, eight out of every 10 women in South Africa are infected with the virus.

“Infection rates differ from region to region and in rural KwaZulu-Natal it may be over 25% in some areas which means one in every four adults is affected.” said Epicentre regional manager, Chitra Singh.

The role that Epicentre has been playing since 2014 is conducting an HIV incidence study better known as HIPPS. This study helped monitor HIV incidence trends in the uMgungundlovu District.

Participants benefitted from the study by receiving information on HIV and getting a broader understanding of HIV and information about how to access general health care.

Participants benefited from this study because skilled fieldworkers provide them with early referral to HIV counselling and testing services and Epicentre offered 13 000 HCT tests.

Although Epicentre previously worked on HIV incidence, they now focus­ on knowing more about HIV prevention­ and treatment programmes.

Knowing how these programmes effect lives will help future generations by providing them with better prevention, testing and treatment programmes.

According to Singh, 20 years ago when someone was HIV-positive, they would, on average, not live more than five years.

Today, a person can expect to have a near-normal lifespan with access to lifelong HIV treatment.

“The fear and stigma of living with HIV means many people are hesitant to be tested, but having the test means you take control of your life.

“Getting diagnosed early means, you’ll be able to quickly get into a treatment plan.

“Get tested, get treated and take control of your life.

“Only you can make this potentially life-saving decision,” he said.

He said people must set an example whether they test positive or negative can be an inspiration to those who may be hesitant to be tested.

“The only way to solve the HIV/Aids crisis is through prevention, and the first step in that journey is for people to know their status.

“Let us strive towards an HIV-free world, starting with one test at a time,” Chitra Singh said.

- Supplied

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