GEORGE NEWS - Children should know their HIV status, even if they're not sexually active. So said Choice Somagaca, chairperson of the George Aids Council, at George Municipality's Aids Day event on Monday.
Somagaca said some children are born HIV positive and it is parents' responsibility to make sure the children get tested.
The event took place at the Garden Route Botanical Garden. The theme of this year's awareness campaign is "Cheko Impilo - Know your status". As keynote speaker, Mayor Melvin Naik encouraged youngsters to abstain from sex and to keep safe. Naik said those living with HIV cannot change their status, "but we can change our attitude".
He called upon the communities to be their ambassadors and ensure that they live the lives they are capable of living. Role players who attended include the George Local Aids Council, police, Correctional Services, Sanca, Thuthuzela Care Centre, Ithemba Lobomi, Options, Department of Health, Youth for Christ and faith-based organisations. Learners from several schools such as Imizamo Yethu Secondary and Thembalethu High were present. Different organisations had stalls up to do HIV testing.
Portfolio Councillor for Community Development, Sean Snyman, encouraged all leaders to get themselves tested. "I am going to test myself on Thursday at the Shoprite Centre," he said.
"This is an open invitation to all - especially the leaders of communities - to have themselves tested. And remember: real men use condoms. Know your status and protect yourself and your partner."
The day was ended off with the signing of a pledge: "I pledge to protect myself and get tested so that I will know my HIV status."
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