WHY WE DO PREVENTION WORK
Prevention of HIV infection amongst children and young people is crucial if we are to realize our vision of a HIV-free generation. With new infection rates amongst the most fertile age groups still increasing, together with an increase in risk-taking behaviours such as having multiple partners and decreased condom use, the need for targeted HIV prevention work amongst children and young people is imperative.
- In the 15 – 49 year old age-group there were almost 400,000 new infections in South Africa in 2012 alone
- Condom use decreased between 2008 and 2012 and on average only about 50% of people are using condoms
- 16.7% of males start having sex before the age of 15 years
- 37.6% of men aged 16 to 24 years report having multiple partners
- Only 26.8% of South Africans have accurate information about the transmission and prevention of HIV
- 23% of children in KZN have lost one or both parents with 4 million orphans in South Africa in 2011 of which 2.5 million of those are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS
- Children orphaned by AIDS are shown to have high levels of psychological distress which impacts pass rates and future potential
Source of statistics: South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behaviour Survey, 2012.
OUR APPROACH TO HIV PREVENTION AMONGST CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE
Education and prevention go hand-in-hand in our vision for an HIV-free generation of the future. Our Prevention programme equips children and young people with accurate information about HIV/AIDS including how to protect themselves from infection, how to remain healthy if already living with HIV, and how to deal with both internal and external stigma in their families, schools and communities.
As with all our work, HACT adopts a holistic and family-centric approach to HIV prevention. Thus, while we focus on using targeted and age-appropriate activities to educate and support orphaned and vulnerable children and young people, we also ensure that at the same time, we educate and support their caregivers and families.
Lastly, our HIV Prevention programmes recognizes the importance of giving children and young people – particularly those that are orphaned and vulnerable - hope for their futures. Our HIV prevention activities are therefore also designed to build children and young people’s self-esteem and resilience, encouraging them to have a long-term vision for their life and understand that every decision they make today, will impact on their dreams for their future.
HACT’S PREVENTION PROGRAMME FOR ORPHANED & VULNERABLE CHILDREN
HACT’s Prevention programme provides targeted HIV prevention services to over 1000 orphaned and vulnerable children and young people, primarily girls and women, across six communities in the Valley of 1000 Hills region of KwaZulu-Natal.
The programme is managed by our Prevention programme manager, a dedicated and experienced community development worker with a passion for child and youth development. This oversees two Team Supervisors and 20 Child & Youth Care Workers who each monitor and support 50 orphaned and vulnerable children (1000 children in total) through community-based support groups, one-on-one mediation sessions between the children and their families, school visits, home visits and targeted HIV prevention and education activities.
Activities include weekly support group meetings for the youth; an annual winter scool holiday programme; an annual youth camp; the Vhutsilo (celebrating life) programme; circles of support which is a programme that cares for the car-givers of the young people; and school support.