We celebrated World AIDS Day a day early in my community. This event would have not been possible without the countless community members and organizations that so graciously helped out – my counterpart Fezile, the High School-provided entertainment- singing, drama, play, poems and tables + chairs, PSI- HIV testing and counseling, the Sandleni inkhundla (local leadership), the MC, the Info Center – providing pamphlets, brochures, bandanas, and candles, the Ministry of Health, Swanepha, ADRA, the women in the Support Group – whom cooked and the number of community members who came (about 200 were in attendance!!)
Vigil – remembering and reflecting on loved ones that passed away from AIDS.
HIV testing and counseling
My community assessment revealed that HIV-related stigma and discrimination is a huge issue in the community. The numbers indicate that there are still new infections of HIV (Swaziland is most devastated by HIV – 1 in 4 people are infected). Breaking down the walls of shame can lead people to access information, support, prevention, and treatment…the goal for the event was to do just that.
It was exciting to see the community so engaged, inspired, and empowered. My hope is that they walked away with at least one piece of new information.
*If you don’t know your HIV status I’d encourage you to get tested tomorrow – knowledge is power ✊🏾
Sahle kahle (stay well)!