The impact of HIV/Aids (and other sexually transmitted diseases) on South African communities remains a concern.
It is true that some progress has been made to make medical care available, to Aids sufferers and HIV positive South Africans, and that antiretroviral treatment is more readily obtainable. We have also seen a slight positive shift in the tolerance of Aids sufferers and HIV positive individuals, but they still face stigmatisation.
The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) believes that the, work to convince our people that their sexual behaviour must change, is still as relevant as it was in the past. According to StatsSA the total number of persons living with HIV in South Africa increased from an estimated 4,94 million in 2002 to 7,06 million by 2017. A shocking 12,6% of the total population is estimated to be HIV positive.
Aside from the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, promiscuity, especially amongst young people, lead to far too many teenage pregnancies.
UDEMWO appeals to the Nation to, if they are sexually active with multiple partners, have themselves regularly tested and abstain from sex, or always use condoms to prevent contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Also, the occurrences of mother to child HIV transmission are preventable.
Let us remind ourselves that HIV and Aids are still a stark reality in our communities and that we are responsible for our sexual behaviour.
Issued by Ms Thandi Nontenja, UDEMWO Secretary General