As an initiative of the Soul City Institute together with Life Line as one of the partners, an HIV & TB stigma reduction awareness campaign kick started in Mahikeng last month.
Headed by a group of four ambassadors and four mobilizers the official launch of the two year campaign is expected to take place next month. The team of eight which targets communities around Mahikeng say they believe that zero stigma and zero discrimination is possible with a well informed and educated community.
One of the ambassadors Thabang Sebotsa indicates that in addition to teaching more on HIV and TB they also counsel the community about the importance of treatment adherence. “With zero stigma and zero discrimination we are saying come out, be free, live your life and get support. People must not hide. There are still those who hide and do not adhere to medication because they fear to be judged”, says Sebotsa.
Nthabiseng Ntsime who is a full time mobilizer shares that they have reached eight hundred people so far since the start of the campaign. “The changes that we would like to see through the campaign is for HIV negative people and HIV positive people to be viewed the same. No labelling or isolating someone because of his/her status”, says Ntsime.
So far the team has made presentations at Montshioa Stadt Clinic and Montshioa and say they plan to engage more with the other communities around Mahikeng, particularly rural villages.