The University of KwaZulu-Natal HIV and AIDS Programme celebrated the month of love (February) by embarking on an awareness campaign on HIV and sexual reproductive health. The HIV and AIDS Programme offers a range of activities that seek to mitigate the HIV epidemic at UKZN and surrounding communities.

The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness about issues related to HIV reduction, sexual and reproductive health and dual protection (females – contraceptives and condoms and males – medical male circumcision and consistent condom use).  It ran from the second week until the end of February 2018 with Howard College campus campaign being from 19- 23 February 2018.

The campaign also aimed to:

  • Promote safe and healthy sexual decisions
  • Reducing social stigma surrounding condom usage
  • Encouraging preventive methods like the use of contraceptives
  • Initiating healthy sexual practices
  • Increase awareness of the importance of knowing your status by testing regularly
  • Increase awareness of the availability of free, quality treatment in the Campus Health Clinic and promote delayed sexual debut

The programme included HIV Counselling and Testing, General Health Screening (blood pressure, Body Mass Index and cholesterol), distribution and demonstration of female and male condoms, health educational talks on contraceptive methods and the use of the menstrual cup which is an alternative to sanitary pads. Peer-Educators handed out leaflets with information on STIs and different types of contraceptives. The campaign reached approximately 16 000 people through the various services that were available.

The outstanding new innovative initiative of this event was the menstrual cup demonstration. A number of females students enrolled in the programme which aims to address the issue of sanitary pads.

Ms Nomonde Magantolo, the Programme Co-ordinator was delighted with the response to the campaign on all campuses and was very supportive of the menstrual cup project which could be viewed as part of UKZN efforts within the “SHE Conquers” national campaign to support young women.

The event was held in partnership with other stakeholders including, the Campus Health Clinic, ICAP, the Department of Health, Ithembalabntu Clinic, Cator Manor Clinic, New Start and MATCH.

The HIVand AIDS Programme under the leadership of Magantolo aims to reach the entire UKZN population through various theme driven campaigns that all campuses embrace. All Colleges are encouraged to participate in this exciting University programme.

Words: Noxolo Batembu