Friday, 24 April 2009

HIV/Aids educational workshop raises awareness

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The HIV/AIDS Unit recently hosted a two-day educational and awareness workshop. The workshop, titled “Beyond HIV/AIDS/STIs and TB” took place from 24 to 25 March 2009 at the Cape Town Campus.

It was attended by Student Development Officers, Assistant Student Development Officers, several students and individuals from the private sector.

On day one, Jacqueline Bacela, HIV/AIDS Unit Curriculum Officer, introduced the group to some of the positive and negative myths of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

She also facilitated various interactive exercises to gain a deeper insight into the prevention, transmission and control of HIV/AIDS.

During the course of the day, participants also heard a testimony from a person living with HIV/Aids.

Other real-life topics that were discussed included, workplace tolerance, sexuality, HIV disclosure, confidentiality, safer sex negotiation with partner, advice for friendships/ relationships around HIV awareness, religious and cultural practices, opportunistic infections and anti-retrovirals (ARVs).

On the second day, Head of the HIV/Aids Unit Dr Mohammed shared some important information around the epidemiology (medical statistics on the incidence and distribution) and the subsequent economic impact of HIV/AIDS on the Southern African Development Community region.

Dr Mohammed also presented case studies around opportunistic and HIV/AIDS-related infections, such as tuberculosis, severe diarrhea and pneumonia.

Dr Mohammed said by the end of the two-day workshop, participants were not only encouraged by the information received but were motivated to know their HIV status and practice the lessons learnt from the sessions.

But more importantly participants felt the need to become more proactive in terms of HIV/AIDS/STI and TB campaigns within their workplace and communities, said Dr Mohammed.

One participant, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I realised that I still had much to do to get rid of the negative myths I had regarding this pandemic. We’re all vulnerable, but at least its spread is preventable”.

The HIV/AIDS Unit regularly conducts HIV/AIDS/STI and TB workshops for students and staff as well as credit bearing modules which are incorporated into existing courses.

For more information on the HIV/Aids unit, contact their offices at 021 460 4253, visit them at the Cape Town office or view their web pages at http://www.cput.ac.za/students/saas/hivaidsunit.

By Thando J. Moiloa

Photo: Head of the HIV/Aids Unit Dr Ashraf Mohammed addresses the group during the two-day awareness and training session.

Written by CPUT News

Email: news@cput.ac.za