Reduction in HIV/Aids stats ‘a ray of hope’

2016-12-07 06:01
KZN MEC for Education Mthandeni Dlungwana said the reduction in the percentage of people who tested positive for HIV gives hope. Photo: Supplied

KZN MEC for Education Mthandeni Dlungwana said the reduction in the percentage of people who tested positive for HIV gives hope. Photo: Supplied

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KZN MEC for Education, Mthandeni Dlungwana said the reduction in the percentage of people from the iLembe District who tested positive for HIV/Aids raises a spark of hope.

Dlungwana was speaking at the World Aids Day commemoration in Mandeni last Thursday.

He said in the 2012/2013 period 15.5% of people from the district who tested for HIV/Aids tested positive and that in the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 period this figured dropped to 13.5% for both periods and that in the 2015/2016 period this figure further dropped to 12%.

“According to figures from this district’s Department of Health, the iLembe District has 17013 people who tested positive for HIV/Aids out of 144066 who tested in 2015 and 2016. This means that this district is sitting on 12% of people who are living with this disease,” Dlungwana said.

He said, however, this figure means the situation is still dire because it places the iLembe and King Cetshwayo Districts in second place in terms of the high prevalence of the number of people living with the disease right after iTheku which has 13% of people who tested positive.

Dlungwana said different government departments are committed to developing programmes and campaigns targeting young people to ensure they do not fall into complicated situations they are not meant to be in.

“When it comes to these campaigns and programmes, we, as government, work with various structures, which include the South African Police Services, Sanca, Child Line, Thuthuzela Care Centre and other non-profit organisations. The government departments that are in the forefront in these campaigns are the departments of education, health and social development,” he said.

He said the work that government departments have done with the Thuthuzela Care Centre in the Stanger Regional Hospital has been fruitful, especially with rape victims.

Dlungwana said the government is aware that communities are faced with various challenges which include young people using drugs, crime, pupils dropping out of school, poverty and the increased spread of child-headed homes.

“These challenges affect the spread of HIV/Aids and it is this reason that the department of education, which I am a minister of, does much to ensure that there are programmes intended to straighten out the youth in our schools who seemingly lead lives that might have negative results. The Special Needs Education Services unit in the department, under the programme My Life My Future, has done a tremendous job in rehabilitating the moral character of pupils who have gone wayward,” he said.

He said though the department does not promote that pupils fall pregnant it has, with social workers, initiated programmes in which pregnant pupils receive counselling.

Dlungwana said it saddens him that 780 pupils fell pregnant in the previous year even though 771 managed to return to school.

“Out of that number, 34 were able to complete their Grade 12. Taking all of this into consideration, I call upon parents to continue having discussions with their children about the importance of good behaviour and avoiding falling pregnant,” he said.

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