According to the Aids Foundation of SA, South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/Aids compared to any other country in the world.
Statistics South Africa (StatSA) reports that the total number of people living with HIV in South Africa increased from an estimated 4, 09 million in 2002 to 5, 51 million in 2014 and that one of the most affected age groups is the 20-24 year olds. With this in mind, Rosebank College, an educational brand of the Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), will join thousands of people around the world to raise social awareness about HIV and Aids by hosting services on its various campuses in support of International Aids Candlelight Memorial.
"Not only do we make it our business to produce IIE graduates that we are proud of, but we also accept that it is our duty to increase awareness about the virus on our campuses," says Moloko Chepape, Principal of The IIE Rosebank College Braamfontein. ""We must educate young people, but if we don't incorporate HIV/Aids awareness into what we teach them, then we are merely educating our students for the grave," adds Chepape.
Kgone Molapisi, a call center manager for Life Line, says the civil society organisation receives hundreds of calls from young people who have just found out that they are HIV positive. "According to our stats for the month of April 2015: 41% of our callers were positive, 34% negative, 17% don't know their status and 8% didn't feel comfortable to disclose," says Molapisi. Most of the calls received by the call center are made by people between the ages 20-39.
According to the National Department of Health, we are moving towards the acceptance of people living with HIV /Aids. However, South Africa still faces the challenge of stigma and discrimination within some of our communities, the workplace and in various other social spaces. For this reason, "the Aids Helpline has a very important role to play as a form of strategic communication to remove stigma as it handles hundreds of calls from all corners of the country," adds Molapisi.
Asked what young people should know about HIV, Molapisi says "people with HIV cannot change their status, but we can change our attitude."
Rosebank College has invited Life Line to speak at the International Aids Candlelight Memorial service at the Braamfontein campus on May 27, 2015.
International Aids Candlelight Memorial, now in its 32nd year, is one of the largest mobilisation and advocacy campaigns for HIV awareness in the world. Historically started by people infected with HIV, today supporters and participants include networks of people from all walks of life.
The IIE Rosebank College will be holding Candlelight Memorial Services at the below campuses, where each campus will host its own guest speakers, and other related activations on the day.
|26 May 2015||Auckland Park campus||10:00 - 15:00|
|27 May 2015||Braamfontein campus||12:30 – 13:30|
|28 May 2015||Pretoria at the Sunnyside campus||12:00 -14:00|
Memorials range from small community vigils to national commemorations and include the lighting of candles, marches and dramatic performances.
Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (Pty) Ltd which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education institution under the Higher Education Act, 1997 (reg. no. 2007/HE07/002). Company registration number: 1987/004754/07.
Written by Karabo Keepile