HIV and AIDS Support Unit Reaches Out to Communities
The University of KwaZulu-Natal HIV and AIDS Support Unit recently conducted a series of Community outreach programmes as part of its comprehensive prevention, treatment and care/support strategy.
Institutions and communities visited during the outreach programme include the Streetwise Children’s Home in Marrianridge, the St Vincent Children’s Home in Marrianhill, the Creating Opportunities Community Advancement in Pinetown, the Ashley Home for the Disabled in Ashley, the Zibambeleni Old Age Home in Clermont, Westville Prison, the Inanda Emachobeni Hall, the Inanda Seminary Clinic and School, Mpilwenhle in Nanda, the Sunshine Bakery, Child Welfare (Edith Benson Babies Home) in Sherwood, St Nicholas Diocesan Church and the uMsinga Community.
These visits are in line with the institutional goal number two, which is Responsible Community Engagement.
The programme plays a key role in delivering prevention services to various communities. During community visits, staff and peer-educators provide HIV testing and other services including education about drug abuse and other socials ills.
Medical male circumcision and healthy lifestyles are also promoted during these visits.
The Unit works closely with government departments, NGO partners, and community partners to provide these services.
Community education serves as an important prevention instrument and helps to reduce the stigma attached to HIV and STIs.
The programme also forms part of the UNAIDS 90-90-90-0 initiative towards ending AIDS. The 90-90-90-0 by 2020 is an ambitious vision for HIV treatment which envisages that by the year 2020, 90% of people living with HIV should have been diagnosed, and that HIV, 90% of HIV positive people should be on antiretroviral treatment and of those 90% should have fully suppressed or undetectable viral load and that there should be Zero stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.
Words by: Thembani Ntobeko Khumalo