HIV is about Life, not just Death!
A three-day training workshop on the SAVE HIV prevention methodology was attended by 44 postgraduate students from the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics on the Pietermaritzburg campus.
The workshop was organised by the Collaborative for HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology (CHART), together with the International, Interfaith Network of Religious Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV (INERELA+) and the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC)
Facilitators were the Rev JP Mokgethi-Heath of the Church of Sweden and the Executive Director of INERELA+, the Rev Phumzile Mabizela.
This SAVE (Safer practices, Access to treatment, Voluntary counselling and testing, Empowerment) approach is more comprehensive than the ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms) HIV prevention method.
The training systematically tackled the stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and misaction (SSDDIM) around HIV and AIDS.
One of the major challenges in working with religious leaders around issues of HIV has been the lack of skills in addressing sex, sexuality and gender in the public realm.
The training enabled the participants to learn how to address these sensitive issues in an open, informative and non-stigmatising way.
From comments afterwards, it was clear participants found the training both relevant and empowering: Comments included: ‘I have no doubt that it could be helpful in changing attitudes, stereotypes that many of us still have about HIV/AIDS’, and ‘It has changed my perspective, challenged my personal conviction and enlightened me on issues of HIV and AIDS, sexuality and gender’.
Students all received a comprehensive SAVE toolkit to use in conducting training sessions in their communities.
The toolkit can be viewed in the CHART office, Room 104, New Arts Building, Pietermaritzburg campus or online at http://inerela.org/