The City of Cape Town, Department of Health and Khayelitsha NGOs have joined forces for World Aids Day, which is marked on Saturday December 1.
An event will be held on Friday November 30 and Saturday December 1 at the Solomon Mahlangu Hall, Walter Sisulu Road, Makhaza, Khayelitsha, to stamp out stigma, discrimination, treatment fatigue and HIV/Aids myths and misconceptions.
The theme this World Aids Day is Checka Impilo. Know Your Status.
South African youth aged 15 to 24 remain the most vulnerable group in terms of HIV infection – over a third of all new infections come from this age group, with adolescent girls and young women at particular risk.
This can be the generation to end HIV, but they need to understand their risk, increase condom use, have access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pills and know their status.
The two-day Khayelitsha World Aids Day event brings together the community to talk about these issues, encourage better choices, celebrate health and well-being and normalise testing under the Department of Health’s Cheka Impilo and SheConquers campaigns.
It is 30 years since World Aids Day was first marked in 1988; and a lot has changed over the years. Most notably, advances in treatment mean that HIV is no longer a death sentence. HIV is managed as a chronic disease and people with living with HIV, adhering to their treatment, can live a normal life.
But stigma, fear, myths and misconceptions still persist.
The Khayelitsha World Aids Day event hopes to change this by offering the community easy access to free testing, information, counselling and other health services. Highlights include a march on Friday from MSF’s offices at the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha to Solomon Mahlangu Hall, including floats designed and built by the LGBTQI+ community, from 9.30am.
The opening ceremony starts at 11am. There will be a candlelight vigil honouring and remembering all those affected by HIV/Aids, music, dance and other performances from individuals, groups including Zip Zap Circus and schools.
On Saturday here will be a Red Race Lace, a 6.5 km fun run to mark World Aids Day, from 8am (Registration is at 7am). There is aerobics and a 5-a-side soccer tournament hosted by Grassroot Soccer which all start at at 10.30am.