HIV/AIDS remains a large part of our lives challenges and is a continuous struggle to decrease the speed of the diseases. This was the accepted feeling during the Local AIDS Council held at the Newcastle council chamber on 15 January 2015. Present at the Local Forum were different stakeholders including government organizations, NGO’s, traditional healers and ward committee members.
During the discussion the forum dealt with matters of HIV/AIDS and were encouraged to initiate programs pertinent to the town’s demographics and challenges in relation to the diseases.
“Forums established to deal with matters of HIV/AIDS need to be spot on with their programmes, with the aim to fight AIDS; they need to understand the demographics and challenges. Parents also need to understand that teaching their children about issues of HIV forms part of their primary tasks in nurturing them” said Acting Special Programmes Manager Mrs. Dube during her opening address.
The council also noted and emphasized the need to know ones status and remain positive about it. People living with HIV shared their stories as they advised on living with the diseases. i.e. Exercising, Staying faithful, taking medication accordingly keeps one healthy and alive.
Ms. Lizzy Masango from Red Cross (NGO) also gave an insightful presentation on their role in fighting AIDS and helping those affected. Red Cross conduct home visit to help those affected by the virus, do referrals where necessary, provide first aid assistance and educate communities about AIDS as they encourage them to test.
The council proceeded with debates which touched on many contributing factors to lack of education on AIDS. One other emphasizes was made that revealing our status is not enough, but forums that are supportive and meaningful to us and other people are needed. The Local AIDS Council is set to sit continuously in order to come up with strategies and ideas to eradicate the epidemic.