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Hundreds gather to march ahead of 11th SA Aids Conference

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Hundreds of people have gathered in Durban for the march to Gugu Dlamini Park ahead of the opening of the South Africa Aids Conference later on Tuesday. The South African National Aids Council Civil Society Forum is to launch a sexual and reproductive health rights campaign – called the Love Picketing Campaign.

Over the next four days scientists, NGO’s and policy makers will be meeting at the 11th SA Aids Conference to re-ignite a multi-stakeholder approach to fighting HIV in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SANAC Civil Society Forum coordinating committee member – Mabalane Mfundisi – says the Love Picketing Campaign seeks to promote access to quality health care services, and awareness about STI’s, voluntary male medical circumcision, and contraception.

“It is important that we take the conversations, strategies and policies from the offices to the streets so that there is a greater understanding by the public. secondly, it’s to ensure that prior to the conference that we highlight and profile the issues. so we will be doing through our chairperson where we will be handing in a memorandum. This a memorandum of commitment from our end in terms of the things that we will do as leaders in civil society but also bringing on board our communities as well as active participants in finding solutions to sexual and reproductive health rights that affect young people.”

Meanwhile, South African National Aids Council Civil Society Forum spokesperson – Nelson Dlamini – has called for youth friendly health care services at the march. He says the highest number of new HIV infections are among girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24.

Dlamini says KwaZulu-Natal records over 1 300 new HIV infections per week in this age group, with young people from underprivileged communities being the hardest hit. Dlamini is calling for more sexual education for young people.

“Youth friendly services are something that we are trying to scale up and promote. So this march is looking at all these issues to say as much as the government is making effort but the people on the ground also should know that there are services that are accessible and how young people should be accessing them. It’s an advocacy march to say that as SANAC civil society forum we also want to play our role in assisting government efforts.”

Source: SABC News

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