The City of Cape Town has a number of activities and events planned throughout the city to mark World Aids Day on 1 December. World Aids Day is observed around the world annually to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.
This year the theme is: 'Getting to Zero - Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-Related Deaths'.
"In getting to zero I urge all Capetonians to empower themselves by knowing their status and getting tested in the run up to World Aids Day on 1 December. A positive HIV status is no longer a death sentence. It can be managed as a chronic disease, but the first crucial step is knowing one's status," said the City's Mayoral Committee Member for Health, Councillor Lungiswa James.
The City of Cape Town exceeded its annual target of 16% for HIV testing of adults older than 15 years of age by more than 4% in 2010/11. This means that a total of 558 623 tests were conducted on residents over the age of 15 (compared to 324 326 tests in 2009/10).
However, there are still Capetonians who have never been tested, and it is hoped that they will make use of the easier access to HIV testing at multiple outreach service points.
"The major focus of these outreach events will be to raise awareness around HIV and also tuberculosis (TB), which is a major cause of death for those infected with HIV. Other health promotion activities will also be conducted, such as testing for diabetes and high blood pressure and distributing condoms," said Councillor James.
Residents can expect the following events:
Table Mountain to go RED
The City is participating in an international campaign aimed at turning the world red. The RED campaign works with international brands to make unique RED-branded products, directing up to 50% of profits to the Global Fund for the fight against Aids in Africa.
The City of Cape Town is a sub-recipient of a Global Fund grant and is currently funding HIV/TB projects for 80 non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
One of the components of the campaign involves turning iconic landmarks around the world red. Cape Town's Table Mountain will be lit with red lights from 19:00 till 23:00 on 1 December 2011.
Outreach and awareness programmes
City Health will hold outreach events in each of the various sub-districts, in collaboration with other City Departments, multi-sectoral action teams, Metro District Health Services and various NGOs. These outreach programmes will raise awareness about HIV as well as TB - which is a major cause of death for those infected with HIV.
Free HIV testing will be conducted as part of the 'Get Tested' campaign during these events. Free male and female condoms and health promotion materials will be distributed, and at some events visitors will be entertained with educational plays and musical items.
The public is encouraged to visit their local clinics for more information.