Department of Transport and Public Works Commemorates World AIDS Day
Wearing a red ribbon and lighting candles, Western Cape Government employees showed their solidarity and support for those living with HIV and AIDS at a commemorative event in Cape Town on 1 December 2014.
The theme of World AIDS Day is “Zero stigma and discrimination”. With this theme, individuals and communities are encouraged to not discriminate against or be judgemental about people living with HIV and to allow them access to adequate HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
Head of Transport and Public Works, Jacqui Gooch said despite challenges faced with HIV and Aids globally, there are many reasons to be optimistic today.
“New infections of HIV have fallen by 30% since 2001, and much of this can be attributed to the scale up on major prevention efforts, such as Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), condom provision and medical male circumcision, but also antiretroviral treatment.
This province has always taken a leadership role on HIV, and has the most established standard antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme in the country – a country that now has more than 2 million people on treatment – which is a fifth of all people on treatment in the world.
“So today, rather than focus on the magnitude of the problems still facing us, I want us to celebrate the successes of what we have achieved collectively so far, and what we can do moving forward. Let us all commit to not just focusing on how we can promote HIV awareness and action on 1 December, but every day of the year.”
“Let us remember that with more than one in 10 people in South Africa being HIV positive, this is not an “other” disease that does not affect us, but rather challenges us to talk about the realities of HIV openly, to make informed decisions about our sex lives, and to make sure that we are fully knowledgeable about HIV in order to, as true public servants, be able to provide advice to ourselves, our friends, loved ones, and strangers,” said Ms Gooch.
A minute of silence was observed at 10:00 across all provincial departments to show respect to those who have passed. At the event, employees were also asked to show their commitment by joining hands to form a human chain of knowledge, love, understanding and action to ensure that next year this time we have many more successes to share.