Media Statement by Thobile Zulu HIV/AIDS Centre Manager at DUT
The Durban University of Technology will launch the First Thing’s First Campaign, an innovative HIV campaign targeting first year students at South African higher education institutions.
The campaign aims to educate and engage students in open discussions as well as encourage them to test for HIV so they know their status. Students receive free counseling which will help them make informed decisions with regards to their HIV status.
The campaign has been endorsed by the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and forms part of government’s HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) programme which is being presented to South Africa’s 23 higher education institutions in a bid to counter the increasing student HIV infection rates.
“It is for this reason that first year students are especially encouraged to take part in the campaign because they have just embarked upon a new lifestyle, where parties, alcohol, drugs and sexual practices may put them at risk of contracting HIV”, said Oziel Mdletshe, Health Promoter at DUT.
The campaign is a collaborative effort between Innovative Medicines of South Africa (IMSA) and its member companies, Foundation for Professional Development (FPD), Department of Health and the Higher Education HIV and AIDS Programme (HEAIDS), along with partners in the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). IMSA is a South African pharmaceutical industry association which promotes the value of medicine innovation in healthcare.
The First Thing’s First Campaign was launched last year. A total of 17 universities participated testing 22 000 students. The targeted number of first year students this year is 35000 across all 23 universities. Memory sticks containing a multi-media presentation and HIV information, condom distribution and pledge walls will be supportive elements within the campaign.
DUT will launch the programme on Monday12 March 2012 at the Ritson Campus.
KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has been invited to attend the event.
Amar Singh the Dean of Students at DUT, a DUT Executive Management representative and the SRC have also been invited.
For more information, kindly contact Thobile Zulu DUT HIV/AIDS Centre Manager on 031 373 firstname.lastname@example.org or DUT Health Promoter Oziel Mdletshe on 031 373 2440/2260/ email@example.com.
Durban University of Technology
031 373 2845