Minister encourages civil servants to get tested

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pretoria - Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, has encouraged civil servants to participate in government's HIV/AIDS Testing Campaign (HTC).

The campaign forms part of government's new and up-scaled HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment plan which was announced by President Jacob Zuma last December, on World AIDS Day.

Through the HCT campaign, government hopes to get 15 million people tested for HIV by June 2011.

Mayende-Sibiya, who is stationed at the Union Buildings, on Thursday sought to get Government's estimated 1.2 million employees to participate in the HTC campaign, by taking the test herself, along with other staffers in the Presidency.

New Start, South Africa's largest non profit HIV counselling and testing organisation managed by Society for Family Health, conducted the tests.

Speaking to BuaNews after taking the test, Mayende-Sibiya said the campaign target would be met if all South Africans worked together and played a part in reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS.

"This is an important campaign. We must show how serious we are by managing and preventing the scourge of HIV. We are all affected by the disease and it is now time for all of us to play a part in curbing the spread of HIV," she said.

She emphasised the need for individuals to know their HIV status and to practice the basic "ABC" principle - which is Abstain, Be faithful and Condomise.

"For those who are negative, they must ensure that they stay the same through correct behaviour, healthy lifestyle and condomising; this will help us to turn the tide of the disease."

One of the Presidency's staff, Thabi Thamiya, a mother of two, said this was in fact the second time she was being tested. "I'll encourage my kids to do the same because if you know your status you can get help immediately and start to live accordingly," Thamiya said.