Some say it’s empowering to learn your HIV status, others say its better not to know, Ikageng Ikamvanites decided to take control over their lives and know their HIV status. On the 27th July 2013, IY Ikageng branch dedicated the day for HIV awareness and testing.
The Potchefstroom Hospital’s wellness centre team led by Mr. Ramasimong conducted the health awareness workshop as well as HIV Testing and Counselling. The team took us through HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment as well as care. They encouraged Ikamvanites to empower themselves to be in charge of their own decisions, and make getting tested a regular lifestyle. They provided information on local testing centres and contact persons.
Mr. Ramasimong emphasised that whether you’ve tested positive or negative, everyone has a role to play in ending HIV/AIDS pandemic. He encouraged Ikamvanites to stop procrastinating and get tested in campaign for an HIV/ AIDS-free generation. He further encouraged everyone to be part of the solution by always talking to their partner about knowing their status and getting tested before having sex. Ramasimong said ‘If you’re negative, stay negative by using protection each and every time and getting tested regularly’.
”If you’re positive, get treated, though there is no cure yet, there are very effective treatments measures available to help people living with HIV live long healthy lives through use of protection and recomended treatment measures.” The awareness followed individual voluntary testing and counselling on IkamvaYouth staff, tutors and learners
A follow up testing procedure will be arranged in 3 months’ time.
Fear is the biggest destroyer which Ikamvanites managed to conquer, given that we live in an era where treatment is available, HIV is not a death sentence as it is commonly thought to be. Instead, the biggest killer is ignorance. Not knowing your status puts you and others at risk.
Lack of knowledge about HIV results in stigmatization and discrimination hindering chances of an HIV/AIDS free generation as the afected and infected would turn a blind ear in fear of banishement and getting ignored or shunned by their families, communities and work colleagues.