The launching of the First Thing’s First campaign at NMMU’s North Campus, saw locals and students come alive at seeing the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Mduduzi Manana. Manana came to launch the national event and to encourage the youth to abstain from sexual intercourse as well as imploring that each one know their HIV status.
Numerous makeshift stalls were upright and available for students and those who attended to have themselves checked out. In addition, there were alcohol screenings, family planning, condom promotions and other such activity that promotes self-care.
The Campaign aims to contribute to the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS which seeks to curb the spread of the pandemic. It also aims to eradicate the rise in the number of infections, especially in the age group of 15 to 24 years, as at that age people are most likely copulate without protection, resulting in a higher risks of being infected. Manana said that victims of HIV/AIDS are normally students in higher education institutions.
The government’s aim is to have more dialogues and conversations with students to make them more conscious the repercussions of HIV/AIDS and to clear up the misconception of the stigma surrounding it. The message of the day was clear as day: everyone must become proactive, and if you’ve tested negative, stay negative.