2013 First Things First HCT campaign launched

The 2013 First Things First HIV Counselling and Testing campaign was successfully launched at the Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi, Durban on 7 March 2013.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi walked the talk and volunteered for testing in the colourful testing precinct surrounding the tented launch venue. In his address he urged young men to volunteer for testing. Of the 20 million South Africans who have tested for HIV since 2010, only 30 percent were men he said. An evaluation of the 2012 First Things First campaign also found that more females tested than males. 

Picking up on the theme, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana, said the National Strategic Plan for HIV, STIs and TB identified young women between the ages of 15 and 24 years among the key populations that are most likely to be exposed to or transmit HIV and/or TB.

"There is no doubt that the vulnerability of young women to HIV is a result of unequal gender relations that must be addressed in any response to HIV," the Deputy Minister said.

The campaign is being activated at higher education and training institutions across the country, uniting tens of thousands of students and staff to reject HIV stigma and test to know their status. Knowing one's HIV status is a necessary step to accessing treatment, care and support and preventing new infections.