In this week’s episode of Sisters Without Shame, human rights activist Steve Letsike unpacks the increase in HIV/Aids infections among young women and adolescent girls. Letsike is the co-chairperson of the South African National Aids Council.
With over 30 million deaths across the globe and no known cure, HIV/Aids remains a looming threat worldwide.
“We have seen an increase of new infections among adolescent girls and young women over the years.
“These are girls between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, and part of our response was to determine how we respond and how we give special attention to adolescent girls and young women.”
Letsike is also the founder of Access Chapter 2 (AC2), an organisation that works to protect and promote the human rights of LGBTI people, women, and girls in South Africa.
HIV/Aids affects the immune system by attacking and destroying white blood cells in the body.
What is the Thembisa Project?
The Thembisa Model was implemented and is Mzansi’s leading mathematical of HIV/Aids.
“Thembisa” translated to “give hope” in Zulu, reflects optimism over recent advancements made in HIV prevention and treatment.
Before the model was implemented, Letsike paints a bleak picture of the reality of HIV/Aids infections in Mzansi.
“We used to have up to 2 500 new infections weekly. If you calculate this within a year, you have over 90 000 new infections. This is just for adolescent girls and young women,” she says.
The Thembisa developers at the University of Cape Town work in partnership with UNAIDS and the South African department of health to produce these estimates. It was implemented in 2017.
On this episode Letsike delves deep into:
- Issues in implementing comprehensive sexual education.
- The challenges of the LGBTI+ accessing adequate healthcare.
- Male hesitancy to visit medical practitioners.
Listen to the full interview on Sisters Without Shame
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