Compelling online discussion about living with HIV/Aids

by ashley

In commemoration of World Aids Day, held annually on 1 December, leading online health and wellness services company Zarcare will facilitate a compelling online discussion about living with HIV/Aids. This online event will take place on Saturday, 2 December 2023 and aims to spotlight advances and potential breakthroughs in care and health outcomes made possible by HIV/Aids research.

By the end of 2022, HIV/Aids had tragically claimed the lives of more than 36 million people worldwide. Today, nearly 39 million individuals live with HIV, making it one of the most devastating pandemics in history. According to Statistics SA, around 8.5 million South Africans are living with HIV. That’s a staggering 14% of our population.

Annie Gwerengwe, founder and managing director of Zarcare, says: “This virtual public event serves as a vital opportunity for all South Africans to remember that HIV remains a reality. It is imperative that we continue to combat the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV, as many people still lack essential knowledge about how to live with an HIV-positive diagnosis or protect themselves and others.

“Zarcare offers educational resources to empower users with a better understanding of their health conditions, enabling informed decisions. Awareness campaigns like these encourage regular HIV testing, leading to early detection and prompt treatment. They also help dispel myths and misconceptions about HIV/Aids. Our mission is to reduce the stigma associated with the virus, aligning with the importance of healthcare accessibility in South Africa.”

Zarcare’s mission is to empower individuals to take control of their own well-being, and these online sessions form part of Zarcare’s series of conversations that are highlighting important health issues that we as a nation are facing. The online sessions are free to all those who register.

Full event details: 

Date: Saturday, 2 December 2023

Time: 10h00 to 10h45

Cost: Free for registered individuals

Platform: Zoom

Registration link: 

A panel of distinguished voices from medicine, wellness, academia and society will discuss approaches that are essential to give more people access to lifesaving and life-improving resources for HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment. 

Speakers will include general practitioner Dr Farha Cassim; social worker and specialist wellness counsellor Liesl Townsend; and Babalwa Sijila, who has lived with HIV/Aids for more than 20 years.  

Dr Cassim, with extensive medical experience in tertiary and primary care facilities as well as in the military, has been deeply involved in community engagement projects related to HIV research. She is a graduate of the University of Stellenbosch.

Townsend, registered with the South African Council for Social Service Professions, will focus on the emotional and psychological challenges that individuals with HIV/Aids often face, guiding listeners to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. 

Finally, Sijila will share her experience living with HIV/Aids, raising her children and story of boldness, and overcoming a pandemic facing many South Africans and how antiretroviral treatment has become part of her daily life.  

“The 1st of December is World Aids Day and it is an important day, serving as a reminder that HIV has not disappeared – and, collectively, we must increase awareness and improve education. This session aims to empower people living with HIV to lead healthy lives free from HIV stigma and discrimination. HIV and Aids are chronic diseases, and individuals living with HIV can lead full and happy lives,” concludes Gwerengwe.

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