Durban – In a country with a high number of HIV/AIDS prevalence among young women and girls, South African women are now taking charge of the fight against the pandemic.
Women from across the country now have a name for a national HIV prevention campaign for girls and young women launched by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in June and it’s called “She Conquers”,
The name, “She Conquers”, inspired by women who face challenges each day and strive to conquer them, was chosen by Mothegi Mphahlele from Limpopo who surprised Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, by calling into the live session at the International AIDS Conference where the Minister was announcing the programme’s name and logo, according to the Department of Health.
She Conquers is a three-year campaign that focuses on HIV infections, unwanted pregnancies, school drop-out, sexual and gender-based violence, unemployment and a shortage of economic opportunities among girls and young women.
Expressing his pleasure with the level of participation from girls and young women in the campaign, Minister Motsoaledi said the large number of name suggestions received – over 100 from all parts of the country – shows that young people were not just giving lip service when they said they don’t want anything for them to be done without them.
“They have taken the necessary action to show their commitment to the campaign,” he added.
According to statistics from the South African National Aids Council, HIV prevalence among girls and young women aged 15 -24 has consistently been found to be too many times higher in comparison to boys and younger men in the same age group, contributing over 30% towards new infections.
SANAC said in 2012, for example, HIV prevalence among males was 2.9% and nearly four times higher among females at 11.4%.
Government hopes that the new campaign will raise awareness levels among girls and may teach them about the importance of insisting on or negotiating protected sex.