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The Durban University of Technology (DUT) Employee Wellness Programme (EWP) hosted a webinar on the Medical and Psychological Management of HIV/AIDS via Microsoft Teams on World AIDS Day, on Tuesday, 1 December 2020.

The meeting was facilitated by Nozibusiso Nyawose (Clinical and Consulting Psychologist) and Dr Nkosinathi Shabalala (a General Practitioner).

EWP hosted the online webinar to raise awareness on the chronic disease, and to educate people on ways to prevent it as well.

According to the South African Government, World AIDS Day is commemorated each year on the 1st of December and is an opportunity for every community to unite in the fight against HIV AIDS and to show support for people living with HIV and remember those who have died because of the virus.

World AIDS Day is vital as it reminds not only the public but the world that HIV/AIDS has not gone away and that together there is still the need to increase more awareness, to fight prejudice and to improve and educate communities about HIV.

Nyawose began the webinar by raising the fact that there is still stigma around HIV/AIDS or some sort of stereotype around people living with HIV/AIDS in the communities, making it tough for people living with HIV/AIDS to pass the “acceptance phase”.

Dr Shabalala gave more insight on the cultural norms, saying that men are more influenced by cultural norms, especially regarding their manhood issues.

Nyawose agreed, emphasizing the significant role culture plays in peoples’ lives, on how they should live as men and women.

“It goes back to how culture was back then where a man could solely decide not to use protection when practicing sexual intercourse. Now because of awareness men are changing the narrative by practicing safe sex,” she said.

Dr Shabalala also mentioned about male circumcision, saying that it does not prevent HIV/AIDS but prevents the chances ofone contracting the virus. “Circumcised males have a 60% chance of getting HIV/AIDS,” he said.

He also spoke of pregnant women saying that there is a procedure done to prevent the passing of the virus from mother to child during birth. The procedure is called Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT). “ARV’s dampens the load of the virus so that the system can recover,” said Dr Shabalala.

Nyawose further highlighted the importance of not rushing to get past the “acceptance phase”. “This is a phase where an HIV/AIDS positive person accepts that they have the virus. An acceptance will come when the time is right, when you are ready. If you are not ready internally and not willing to accept then you won’t get past the stage” she said.

The attendees were also given an opportunity to ask pertinent questions relating to the disease and ways to curb the spread of the disease.

Pictured: Nozibusiso Nyawose (Clinical and Consulting Psychologist)

Nikiwe Sukazi

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