Stand together to manage HIV
COVID-19 has been making global headlines all year. While about 770 000 South Africans tested positive for the new disease by end November 2020, an estimated 7.7 million South Africans live with HIV, a virus we've known about for a while.
South Africa is battling two pandemics at the moment: HIV/AIDS and COVID-19. While COVID-19 and the lockdown alert levels are constantly in the news, 1 December is World AIDS Day and a reminder that we all need to stand together and take shared responsibility for stopping viruses from spreading.
As UNAIDS explains: "COVID-19 has demonstrated that, during a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Leaving people behind is not an option if we are to succeed. Eliminating stigma and discrimination, putting people at the centre and grounding our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19."
Wear your red ribbon and your mask to show your support.
What can you do?
Everyone can help by knowing their HIV status. Research shows that 90% of people living with HIV know they have the virus. To protect yourself and your family, we recommend all adults get tested for HIV once a year as part of your yearly health check.
If a test confirms that you are HIV positive, you or your Healthcare Provider must register you with the Aid for AIDS programme as soon as possible. Their skilled, professional consultants respect your right to privacy and will help you get access to clinically sound and cost-effective treatment for your individual needs. Please be assured that we treat each case with complete confidentiality.
Although a lot of work has been done to reduce discrimination against people living with HIV, the stigma still continues. It can mean people with the virus are abandoned by their families, excluded from social events, expelled from school and face a lack of care and support. Advances in treatment means people with HIV can live long and healthy lives. There is no reason to treat someone with HIV differently from other people with long-lasting conditions such as asthma.
What care you can you get for HIV?
While your HIV status is nothing to be ashamed of, we and our consultants will never tell anyone your status without your permission. Getting cover and support for managing HIV doesn't mean giving up your privacy.
Benefits of the HIV Programme
Aid for AIDS, our HIV management programme, offers the following benefits:
- Medicine to treat HIV* and vitamins for the immune system
- Regular monitoring of the condition
- Monitoring of the patient's response to therapy and tests to pick up side effects
- Continued patient support through dedicated counsellors
- Assistance in finding a registered counsellor for emotional support.
* This includes medicine to prevent mother-to-child transmission and infection after sexual assault or needle-stick injury.
To register please contact Aid for AIDS:
While it's useful to know that you have access to tools and benefits, it's difficult to imagine how they can make a difference in your life if you haven't experienced them yet.