Miss SA joins Durban mayor in unveiling campaign to fight new HIV infections and GBV
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DURBAN - REIGNING Miss South Africa, Shudufhadzo Musida, joined eThekwini Municipality mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, in launching the project that aims to fight new HIV infections and gender based violence.
The Dream - Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe programme - was officially launched in Amawoti near Inanda, with the aim of reducing the rate of new HIV infections, particularly in adolescents and young women.
DREAMS is a national campaign aimed at empowering adolescent girls and young women to reach their potential and maximise their contribution to the society.
In his address, Kaunda noted that young women between the ages of 15 and 24 were vulnerable to HIV infection in SA.
He said according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, 1 975 young girls and women were infected with HIV every week.
He said statistics from the Department of Health indicate that Inanda as a whole continues to experience an increase in the number of new HIV and Aids infections among the youth.
"Since the lockdown begun, we have also seen the increase in the number of patients who are defaulting from treatment. Therefore, we are optimistic that this programme will help us to stem the tide against HIV and Aids among the youth. However, for the DREAMS campaign to succeed, we must strengthen partnerships between community structures and government," Kaunda said.
He said it was important to work hard to decrease the rate of new infections in young girls and women as well as decrease teen pregnancies and ensure that girls remain in school until matric.
"Once we are able to create an environment that ensures retention of girls in school, we would have empowered them for the future. In the end, women will occupy their rightful place in all sectors of our society – free from sexual and gender-based violence," Kaunda said.
The Mayor said in order to rid society of all forms of women abuse, men need to be involved and needed to be change agents.
"Therefore, we are pleased that DREAM has a component that is targeting boys and young men. We also believe that when young boys grow up in an environment that does not tolerate violence against women, they will become responsible men who protect women instead of being their abusers," Kaunda said.
He added that the leadership of the city is actively involved with the eThekwini Men's Sector, and has been able to open up the conversation around men's response and the role they play in ending GBV.