The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has been promoting its 20×20 global campaign, launched for World AIDS Day 2013, to extend access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) to 20 million people by year 2020. This message is the centre of a new campaign, aimed at the average South African, calling on them to add their voice and their red ribbon of support to a giant 20×20 banner which will tour the country over next two years.
The 20×20 campaign banner and ribbon tour will officially launch on 1 December in Umlazi, when World AIDS Day is internationally commemorated.
Currently only 12 million people out of the estimated 35 million living with HIV worldwide are on ART. 1.6 Million people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2013, primarily because they cannot get the medicine they need. The chief aim of the 20×20 campaign is to spark a renewed vision—that investing in treatment scale up will yield humanitarian and economic benefits that far outweigh the initial costs. This campaign seeks to change the global mind set and reinterpret the AIDS response not as a burden, but as a smart long-term investment that will pave the way to ending AIDS, boosting economic growth and saving millions of lives.
AHF SA’s presence will be felt at several World AIDS Day events, including a keynote address by AHF SA medical director, Dr Sigwili Bright Mhlongo at the Prince Mshiyeni M. Hospital’s and at a South African Police Service (SAPS) commemorative event, where Dr Mabaso will address attendees. These events will follow AHF’s participation in a Guinness World Record attempt to have the most number of people tested for HIV, on Saturday, 29 November. AHF SA has also announced its prevention and testing events aimed at getting the community tested and educated on HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment. The events will include entertainment, patient advocates, condom distributions and general health screening for TB, diabetes, HIV and high blood pressure.
The KZN team will be participating in events around Ethekwini prior to World AIDS day including the world record attempt for number of HIV tests performed in one day taking place this Saturday at Emthethweni Senior Primary School in Umlazi, an outreach event focusing on hostel dwellers in Umlazi and Lamontville.
On Monday 01 December the organisation’s official World AIDS Day events include a massive roadshow at Umlazi’s Mega City shopping mall, the keynote address at the SAPS AIDS Day Fun Walk at the Kenneth Steinbank Nature Reserve and to round out the day AHF’s Medical Director Dr Mhlongo will be delivering the keynote address at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital’s commemoration.
In addition to the KZN activities the AHF SA Eastern Cape team will be running a unique door-to-door testing drive in the Butterworth, Idutywa and Middledrift areas, making much-needed healthcare accessible in districts with limited transport. They will also be hosting a special testing roadshow in Butterworth on Friday 28 November.