Photo: Nomakhaya (community health worker) delivers HIV treatment to community member, 2023.
In the early 2000s, our community was in the grip of one of its darkest periods, overshadowed by the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS. One community member recounts dozens of close friends who died during this time. The roll-out of HIV treatment in the public health system had begun, but our community still faced significant challenges in accessing the life-saving medications. With limited treatment options available, an HIV diagnosis felt like a death sentence.
Fast forward to today, twenty years later, the situation has dramatically transformed. Individuals living with HIV in our community now have the convenience of home-delivered treatment. Our community health workers actively engage in HIV education, and our Health Point is equipped for testing. We run regular sports events to encourage testing and distribute condoms. What was considered an almost certain fatal prognosis is now a manageable chronic condition.
Despite these significant advancements, we are not finished. The latest HIV survey in South Africa shows that we are close to reaching the 95:95:95 targets, but more work is needed, particularly in increasing testing and treatment for specific demographics, such as men aged 35-49.
This World AIDS Day, let’s renew our commitment to ending the AIDS pandemic by 2030. For community-based organisations looking to make a difference, setting up an external pick-up point for HIV treatment is a powerful step. Learn from our experience and join us in this crucial effort. For more information, read here on how to set up an external pick-up point.