By Carmel Lawry
This year’s World Aids Day (WAD) will be commemorated under the theme: “Communities make a difference, Cheka Impilo” in South Africa.
“Cheka Impilo” is a call for communities to accelerate screening and testing for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other sexually transmitted infections so that people know their status, access treatment and promote healthy lifestyles.
South Africa has the biggest HIV epidemic in the world, with 7.9 million people living with HIV. HIV prevalence is high among the general population at 20.4%. In 2017, (UNAIDS) has an estimated 280,000 children (aged 0 to 14) were living with HIV in South Africa, only 58% of whom were on treatment.
Holy Family Care Centre is a residential home administered by The Daughters of Our Lady Of the Sacred Heart in the Limpopo Province. The home cares for 75 sick, malnourished and vulnerable children especially orphaned/neglected children very ill with HIV and AIDS.
The health team at HFCC aims to provide a loving environment that meets their health and educational needs. Most of our children we are able to nurse back to health through close monitoring, antiretroviral medication and a quality nutritional program. We also provide health education regarding the prevention of transmission of HIV especially to young teens who are extremely vulnerable due to the high rate of teenage pregnancies. Education through school communities and the local health clinics also provide a vital role particularly in monitoring health status and prevention of HIV transmission from mother to baby.
World Aids Day each year in South Africa is an important day for communities to act and educate to reduce the number of new infections.