Desmond Tutu and the battle against Africa's HIV epidemic
One of peace and social justice campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s greatest battles has been one that too many people don’t want to talk about.
His ongoing commitment to fight the ravages of HIV through research, treatment, training and prevention has had a remarkable impact.
But HIV and AIDs remain subjects that carry a stigma in African society where the virus is at epidemic proportions but often ignored, denied or regarded with reckless abandon. Statistics show that more than 19 million people are currently living with the virus in sub-Saharan Africa with 15,000 new infections occurring every week.
Thankfully the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, which has been in operation at the University of Cape Town since 2004, has helped make great inroads into treatment, prevention and encouraging people to avoid risky behaviour.
Its research and clinical and community outreach staff focus on lessening the impact of the HIV epidemic on individuals, families and communities.
The self- funded foundation supports treatment, care, prevention and education, particularly among the poor and vulnerable. Thousands of young South Africans live in poverty and are at particular risk from ignorance and societal pressures.The DTHF is working hard to combat the stigma that surrounds the disease and providing help and support for those living with HIV/AIDS.
This Christmas the Foundation announced that more than 20,000 Moments Condoms had been donated by Coral Healthcare for use in its community programmes! They will be distributed during educational sessions with young women as part of the Women of Worth programme.
To find out more about the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation go to desmondtutuhivfoundation.org.za