Project tackles HIV among adolescents
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.