A national hotline has been established to mobilise the community goodwill that exists towards AIDS orphans, according to the Department of Health.
At a press briefing in Pretoria, officials from the department’s new Khomanani communication campaign said that a national survey had shown that over 66% of South Africans were prepared to help AIDS orphans, but only 7% were actually doing as most did not know how they could help.
For this reason, Khomanani (“caring for each other”) has launched “Circles of Support” and people can phone its hotline on 0860-222-777 and hear how they can help.
Khomanani, which has a budget of R98-million over two years, is being run by a consortium of organisations outside the department, including Meropa Communications, Johnnic and Soul City.
Some 2,5-million children will have lost at least one parent in the next 10 years, according to actuarial projections.
Aside from “circles of support”, Khomanani has five other theme campaigns, including a “Positive Living”, a campaign aimed at helping people with HIV/Aids.
HIV/AIDS stigma was also being addressed, as 50% of 12- to 14-year-olds said they would not have a meal with a person with HIV/Aids.
The youth are a special focus, and Khomanani aims to encourage young people to delay having sex, promoting safe sex amongst those who are already sexually active and discouraging teenagers from abusive relationships or having “transactional sex” ‘ sex with a person much older than they are for material gain. Two-thirds of 15 to 19-year-olds surveyed said they were sexually active.
A special sub-campaign is focusing on sexually transmitted infections, which make it much easier for the HI Virus to enter a person’s body while the final focus is on tuberculosis, the most common opportunistic infection affecting people with HIV.