UKZN hosts Annual 90 90 90 Strategy Fun Run
The HIV and AIDS Programme held a fun run/walk for staff and students as well as members of surrounding communities and their families on the Howard College campus as part of the 90 90 90 UNAIDS Strategy which is an approach to ending AIDS as a public health threat by the year 2030.
The event, which featured a 5km run/walk, was part of an annual event aimed at increasing awareness around the UNAIDS 90 90 90 targets which seeks to end the AIDS epidemic or significantly reduce the spread of HIV through behavioural change by encouraging healthy lifestyle choices and care and support for those living with HIV.
In her welcome address, Executive Director: Student Services Dr Rose Laka-Mathebula encouraged members of the audience to take care of themselves and their loved ones and/or associates, who may be infected or affected by HIV. She stressed that the disease affected everyone and to achieve the 90- 90 -90 Strategy, people needed to care for each other.
The UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme, in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality, has committed to supporting this initiative by raising awareness, developing strategies and offering services to assist in reaching these targets.
According to the UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme, the 90-90-90 target will involve municipalities in ensuring that, by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% living with HIV are on treatment and 90% on treatment have a suppressed viral load.
The UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme Co-ordinator Ms Nomonde Magantolo said: ‘Young people are at the receiving end of the HIV burden, and new infections within the age group of 15-25 are alarming, hence we are doubling our efforts in prevention awareness programmes. We urge everyone in society to promote healthy and responsible lifestyle behaviour.’
In his message of support to the event and the University, the Brothers for Life Ambassador, Mr Smiso Msomi, encouraged men to test for HIV and other health issues. Msomi has engaged in the Programme’s new HIV Counselling and Testing campaign which is aimed at mobilising men to overcome their fears about HIV and health issues.
During the awards ceremony, UKZN Comrades Marathon runner Mr Tony Singarum awarded medals to the day’s winners and acknowledged the work the University team does to contribute to fighting this scourge.
Words by: Sithembile Shabangu