Thursday, 23 November 2017

Aids drive focussed on awareness and testing

COMMUNITY WORK: CPUT’s HIV Unit pulled out all the stops last year to educate the university community on World Aids Day COMMUNITY WORK: CPUT’s HIV Unit pulled out all the stops last year to educate the university community on World Aids Day

This year World Aids Day on 1 December will be commemorated with a week-long campaign across two of CPUT’s campuses – Bellville and Cape Town.

This international initiative provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the HIV pandemic, to encourage sexually active individuals to know their status and to commemorate those who have lost their lives as a result of HIV.

Information tables, where both staff and students can be tested not only for HIV, but also other sexually transmitted illnesses as well as TB will be the focal point of the university’s efforts to create awareness around HIV. HIV testing is voluntary and staff and students are encouraged to get tested or simply to come for general health screenings at the information tables.

On Cape Town campus the information table will be on the Piazza from 27 to 28 November, while it will be in the area between the Major Sports Hall and the Admin Building on Bellville campus from 29 November to 1 December.

The theme for this year’s World Aids Day is Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.

According to Stats SA 12.7% of the country’s total population of 55 million people live with HIV. A further 5.6% of South Africans aged between 15 and 24 has HIV, while 18.9% of adults aged 15-49 years live with HIV. Despite this high prevalence of HIV, HIV activists still have to battle against the stigma surrounding the disease.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of getting tested and knowing your status. The latest development in antiretroviral treatment is that one no longer has to wait for your CD4 count to be below a certain threshold to start treatment. You can start treatment immediately after finding out you are HIV+,” says Unathi Bheme, a final year Education student who bravely disclosed her status in Parliament last year.

Staff and students are also urged to bring donations of sanitary towels to the information tables. By doing this they are automatically entered into a lucky draw and stand the chance to win prizes. The Donate a Pad Project (DAPP) is an initiative by the HIV unit that formally kicks off on Monday, 27 November. This initiative will extend beyond World Aids Day and continue well into 2018. Staff and students can also drop off donations of sanitary towels at the following offices:

  • HIV Unit
  • Campus Clinic
  • Student Counseling
  • Department of Student Affairs; and
  • Disability Unit

Female students in need of sanitary towels can collect sanitary towels from these same offices.

Written by Abigail Calata