Project tack­les HIV among ado­les­cents

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ASANDA SOKANYILE

SHOCKINGLY high num­bers of ado­les­cent women liv­ing with HIV in South Africa have led to the launch of a R91 mil­lion, three-year pi­lot project aimed at keep­ing girls in school, min­imis­ing the spread of the virus and of teenage preg­nan­cies, and tack­ling tu­ber­cu­lo­sis.

The Young Women and Girls (YWG) project, a ven­ture between the Global Fund and the pro­vin­cial health depart­ment, was launched at Oak­lands High School yes­ter­day.

The Global Fund’s Michael Byrne said: “South Africa is home to 15 per­cent of all ado­les­cents liv­ing with HIV glob­ally.”

The fund has in­vested R230m in pro­vin­cial health depart­ment pro­grammes, R91m of which will be focused specif­i­cally on women and girls.

Byrne said: “De­spite very sig­nif­i­cant progress that has been made against HIV and TB, ado­les­cent girls con­tinue to be dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected by the dis­eases, es­pe­cially HIV – (and) 7 000 women and girls con­tract HIV ev­ery week and 2 400 of them live in South Africa.”

Health MEC No­mafrench Mbombo said al­though ARVs had in­creased the life ex­pectancy of South African women and girls, in­fec­tions were also in­creas­ing.

The pro­gramme will fo­cus on 50 pri­mary and 50 high schools in the Mitchells Plain and Klip­fontein area, which in­cludes Athlone, Lans­downe, Hanover Park, Nyanga and Philippi.

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