All Kouga communities are invited to the official commemoration of World Aids Day at Jeffreys Bay next week.
The programme will take place at the Tokyo Sexwale Sportsfield from 10am on Tuesday, 3 December.
Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the theme for this year’s World Aids Day, marked across the globe on December 1, would be: “It’s my right to know my status; prevention is my responsibility”.
“The theme speaks to the biggest challenge around HIV/Aids in our country,” Hendricks said.
“While great strides have been made in reaching and treating those living with HIV/Aids, preventing new infections of the virus remains a challenge.”
He said recent research by the University of Cape Town suggested that approximately 7,4 million South Africans were HIV positive while 4,9 million people were on treatment.
“The goal is to roll out treatment to at least 2 million more people over the next year.”
He said of concern was the around 250 000 new infections recorded annually in South Africa.
“The target is to keep new infections to below 100 000 in 2020. Raising awareness of the disease and how it can be prevented is, therefore, critical.”
He said young people between the ages of 15 and 24 were particularly vulnerable to being infected.
“We would, therefore, like to encourage young people, parents and caregivers in particular, to attend the programme.”
He further called on communities not to discriminate against those living with HIV/Aids.
“The stigma attached to the illness is one of the biggest challenges we must overcome if we are to win the war,” he said.
“Illnesses such as Aids and TB do not discriminate by age, race, gender, class or socio-economic status. They affect all people and communities, prompting the need for a truly united and compassionate approach.”
He said this tied in with the slogan for World Aids Day 2019: “Let our actions count. Let’s make this year’s World Aids Day the biggest ever yet!”
The Kouga event is being presented jointly by the municipality, Department of Social Development, Department of Health, the Sarah Baartman District Municipality and Khethimpilo.