First Things First (HIV/STI/TB) Campaign










About the programme

The First Things First (HIV/STI/TB) campaign is a public-private partnership initiative led by HEAIDS in partnership with Innovative Medicines South Africa (IMSA) and the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD), with support from  the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR);  the Department of  Higher Education and Training; the Department of Health; and the South African National Aids Council (SANAC).

The First Things First campaign contributes to an objective of the 2012-2016 National Strategic Plan for HIV, STIs and TB to maximise opportunities for testing for HIV. The campaign provides for the testing of large numbers using HIV rapid finger prick tests. It is supported by an appropriate pre-test and post-test counselling and education programme. University based counsellors and testers are trained as required.

The campaign is supported by a variety of promotional elements including:

- Distribution of a memory stick with a multi-media presentation and HIV information

- Distribution of condoms

- Pledge walls

As a campaign brand “First Things First” speaks to the priority of HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT). HCT is basic to the efforts to mitigate the spread of HIV and AIDS. To know one’s HIV status is the basis for caring for oneself, one’s loved ones, and the broader community from HIV and AIDS. To test HIV negative calls for behaviour to stay HIV negative through responsibility against HIV risk. To test HIV positive calls for precautions to protect oneself further and others, and to be enrolled in wellness and treatment, care and support programmes.

The success of the campaign goes beyond the numbers reached. The campaign’s success resides too in the added value it offers to existing institutional HCT programmes, to the strengthening and sustainability of HIV programmes across the whole of the public higher education sector, and to making for a unified higher education sector response.

In the long lines of students and staff waiting to be counselled and tested at higher education institutions across the country we may see the socialisation of HIV Counselling and Testing and a powerful challenge to the stigmatisation of HIV and AIDS issues. And in the context of the global drive that promotes treatment of HIV and AIDS as prevention, HCT assumes a far reaching significance that the First Things First campaign helps catapult.

Higher Education Institutions that would like to implement the FTF campaign on their campus, should fill in the activation request form below and send it to (universities only) or (TVET Colleges only).

Programme Managers

Alex Semba - University Support

Mr Alex Semba has extensive experience in project management. He holds a Master's Degree in Philosophy in HIV and AIDS Management from Stellenbosch University. Alex joined HEAIDS from the University of the Western Cape's HIV and AIDS programme where he was the Peer Education Coordinator. Prior to that Alex was a Peer Education Officer, Project Officer and Acting Head of Department at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology's HIV/AIDS Unit.

E-Mail:      Phone: 012 481 2802


 Brenda White -  FET Colleges Support

Brenda White has been appointed HEAIDS: Project Manager for the First Things First HCT campaign in January 2013 to manage the FTF campus activations. Brenda joined HEAIDS from FPD with strong Project Management skills. She holds B Sc Ed and B Com Honours degrees from the University of Johannesburg (previously RAU) and certificates in Pastoral Narrative Therapy (UNISA) and Advanced Health Management Programme (2011, Yale University). She has written and presented on HIV/AIDS services, the role of traditional healers in HIV/AIDS referral, and early detection of HIV/AIDS in children.       Phone: 012 484 1137


Forms and Information

Marketing Material