Time to take responsibility – HIV/Aids Candlelight Memorial Service
Several staff and students of the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal) recently attended the HIV/Aids Candlelight Memorial Service to showcase their support to those who are infected.
Dr Victor Fiqueora – a HIV/Aids researcher and Sr Sara Kok – a local Health Care Promotor in the Sedibeng region was key note speakers during the memorial event on the 23rd of March 2012. According to Dr Fiqueora, the Sedibeng region has an alarming high HIV/Aids prevalence with an infection rate of nearly 60% whilst only an estimated 4% of the region’s population has undergone screening. According to Dr Fiqueora many young people still do not acknowledge the existence of the pandemic and as a result they do not take prevention seriously. Another guest speaker, Sr Kok told students that now is the time to take action and not indulge in mere lip service.
“HIV/Aids is out of the coffin,” said Sr Kok and explained that through healthy lifestyle choices, sexual abstinence and antiretroviral medication the disease is no longer a death sentence. The Annual International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day is the largest grassroots movement against the disease that aims to cripple our society.
During the event the Campus community joined 115 countries world wide to honor those who have lost the fight against the disease and to raise awareness about the pandemic. The Candlelight Memorial is much more than just a remembrance service. It serves as a pro-active campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV/Aids and with more that 33 million people living with the disease, it furthermore serves as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.
During the memorial event on both staff and students were afforded the opportunity to undergo a voluntary HIV screening test. Knowing your HIV status is very important since it allows you to make informed decisions regarding your future and your life.
Published by Sipho Msolo