In an open letter to young women in South Africa, Faith Fikizolo reminds us that meaningful comprehensive sex education is an important lever in ensuring girls and young women are fully empowered to exercise their sexual and reproductive health rights. She argues that, due to the lack of meaningful sexuality education, many South African young women and girls lack bodily autonomy.
While the Free State health department is denying that clinics in the province are experiencing stockouts of antiretroviral medicines, some healthcare users and HIV activists working in communities claim otherwise. The department does however acknowledge that some people are given only a two-week supply at a time. Refilwe Mochoari reports.
In Spotlight’s analysis of South Africa’s HIV response in recent years, two issues have stood out consistently – still too many people living with HIV are not taking antiretroviral therapy and the rate of new HIV infections in South Africa is not coming down fast enough. Accordingly, argues Spotlight editor Marcus Low, we must accelerate the shift toward an HIV response where we make testing for HIV and taking antiretroviral treatment as convenient as possible.
As we look at the year ahead, urgent work remains to build on past successes and to bring the HIV epidemic sustainably under control. Amongst others, we need to address persistent stigma and discrimination, as well as the structural and social factors that put women and girls at increased risk of HIV infection, argues Rachel Toku-Appiah.
HIV prevention pills are becoming more widely available in South Africa and the country is set to soon start piloting the use of an HIV prevention injection. But merely having these tools available in clinics and other places does not mean people will use them. Thabo Molelekwa asked several experts what behaviour change communications should look like in this new era of HIV prevention.
On December 12, Ntimbwe Munongo Mpamba will celebrate his fortieth birthday with chocolate cake in Northgate, Johannesburg. He was born with HIV but only became aware of his HIV status many years later. Biénne Huisman spoke to him about living with HIV, his early years when his mother fed him medicine disguised as sweets, and now, living openly as an HIV awareness champion.