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Communities in Prevention

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance is part of the UNAIDS Prevention Focal Point Group, responsible for planning the launch meeting of the UNAIDS Global HIV Prevention Coalition to be held in Nairobi in October. As part of building international momentum around this launch, and getting civil society input and engagement, the Alliance held a thematic meeting on prevention in which key global prevention advocates/champions were in attendance. NACOSA, as the Alliance’s incoming linking organisation for South Africa, hosted this prevention meeting which took place on 28 August – 31 August 2017 at the Lagoon Beach Hotel in Cape Town. The topic…

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What women face

It’s Women’s Month. A time to remember the courage and activism of the Women’s March and to celebrate women’s contribution to our democracy. But it is equally important to reflect on the challenges South African women continue to face and what can be done to combat this. Vulnerability to HIV Women and girls carry the bulk of the HIV burden in South Africa. They are more at risk of infection and more likely to be caring for those affected. HIV incidence is highest in young women aged 15-24 at 2.3%, making up a quarter of all new infections. Adolescent girls…

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Keep calm and bounce back

Determination, grit, growing from failure, the ability to bounce back from a difficult experience. This is resilience. The quality that enables someone to rise above adversity. In children, it is considered an especially important quality in order to develop into well-functioning adults. But organisations need resilience too. Organisational resilience becomes essential in uncertain economic and political times like those we face right now across the globe. The ability to assess, adapt and survive a crisis is a key component of an organisation’s sustainability. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude and…

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Getting youth on the move

Young South Africans face huge challenges this June 16th. Unemployment is at a new high, disproportionately affecting the youth with a rate of over 50%. Young people, particularly young women, are also carrying the burden of HIV and AIDS. Poverty, lack of opportunity and poor educational outcomes all conspire to create a generation facing some of its toughest challenges. How do we as civil society engage the youth to help them achieve their full potential?  HIV is the second largest cause of death of adolescents globally and the first in Africa. New HIV infections are concentrated in older adolescents and…

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HIV self-testing guidelines

The Southern African Clinicians Society have issued guidelines on HIV self-testing (HIVST). These guidelines serve as additional guidance for the National HIV Testing Services Policy 2016 with a specific focus on HIVST. There is a global initiative to accelerate universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care. HIV testing remains the key point of entry in the continuum of care for any individual living with HIV. The HIV testing gap remains significant and HIVST has been recommended as an additional tool to complement traditional HIV-testing services (HTS) in order to reach key and under-tested populations like men, young people and people from…

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Continued criminalisation of sex work a concern

NACOSA notes the release of the South African Law Reform Commission report on Project 107 dealing with Adult Prostitution. We are concerned about the impact that the continued criminalisation of sex work will have on the lives of sex workers, particularly as it relates to high and increasing rates of HIV, AIDS and TB in this vulnerable population. NACOSA reaches over 50,000 sex workers per quarter with a human-rights based packaged of services to save the lives of sex workers through access to health and related services. In our experience of working with this vulnerable group, they face chronic levels…

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Sign the End the Violence Petition

South Africa is in the grip of an epidemic of violence against women and children. Let’s join together and do something about it. Sign the campaign petition: End the Violence: Commit to a National Plan on Gender-Based Violence. The campaign calls on government to commit to a National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence (GBV). This plan must focus on better service delivery for victims of violence, address the critical primary prevention aspect of GBV and the roll-out of prevention programmes that should address harmful gender norms and masculinity and equitable relationships amongst men and women alike. It should provide a…

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Conquering extra-pulmonary TB

TB is normally associated with the lungs so most people don’t realise that TB can affect other organs of the body – like the brain, stomach and joints and bones. Loina Loveness Charumbira, a 32 year-old site coordinator from Gauteng, was diagnosed with extra-pulmonary TB in 2008. She shared with us how she was diagnosed, her treatment and how she conquered this rarer form of the disease. When Loveness found herself getting sick and after a few days couldn’t walk or talk, she was admitted to hospital for tests. The test for extra-pulmonary TB (EPTB) was uncomfortable and it took…

Funding boost for training

The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has awarded a R2.06 million grant to the Networking HIV/AIDS Community of South Africa (NACOSA) to establish and strengthen systems that can respond effectively to the needs and priorities of the country’s HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis response. New and innovative training models for community organisations and local structures will be developed and rolled out, thanks to the grant. DOWNLOAD THE MEDIA RELEASE > Poverty and inequality, HIV, AIDS and TB, violence and unemployment are key challenges facing South Africa – challenges that are integrally linked and interdependent. Civil society plays a vital role in mitigating…

Funding the biggest challenge for members

NACOSA Network members – some 1,500 organisations across the country – are at the forefront of helping to build healthy communities in Southern Africa. In our latest membership survey, 80% reported lack of funding as one of the biggest challenges they face. This was in stark contrast to the 2015 survey where only 63% reported lack of funding as a challenge. The 2017 survey focused on the challenges facing organisations, the systems they have in place to address these challenges and how NACOSA can actively support their advocacy work.  The valuable insights provided will help NACOSA further improve and develop…

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