Launch of new national men’s campaign – Brothers for Life – to mobilise South African men to act on HIV

The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), the Department of Health, USAID/PEPFAR(The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), and Sonke Gender Justice and the UN System in South Africa today announced that the launch, of Brothers For Life will take place in Kwamashu, Durban on August 29 during an all day entertainment and educational event expected to attract thousands of citizens.

The Brothers for Life launch event will feature several dignitaries and male personalities who will share with the audience their personal experiences as well as communicate aspects of the campaign and male responsibility.

There will be performances by well known artists Freshly Ground, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabusa alongside well known DJ’s Big Nuz and Tira with poet Masoja among others, while VCT (Voluntary Counselling and Testing)stations and other informational exhibits will be available to the audience.

South Africa is starting to see a marked change in HIV epidemic – a reduction of HIV prevalence amongst teenagers and increased condom usage amongst youth.
But new HIV infections amongst adult men remain stubbornly high particularly amongst older men 30 – 34 where HIV prevalence peaks at around 25%.

“Brothers For Life is the first national effort that brings together government and civil society to mobilise men across the country in a movement to speak out, take action and to make a positive contribution towards the fight against HIV.

This campaign is important for the health and wellbeing of men’s communities, families and partners. We urge all men to get involved!”, says Mark Heywood, Deputy Chairperson of SANAC.

Brothers for Life is a campaign specifically targeted at men, designed to highlight and communicate around male norms and behaviours that undermine the health and wellbeing of men and their families.

Rev Bafana Khumalo of SONKE says that the impetus for the campaign lies in inspiring men to assume responsibility and play a greater role in socially responsible behaviour and, along with it, the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

“Issues that will be addressed include the misuse of alcohol, the important role of men within the family, multiple and concurrent sexual partners, transactional sex and the role of the male in the prevention of mother to child transmission among others.”

Mandla Ndlovu, JHHESA Programme Manager, comments that the Brothers for Life campaign will comprise a massive communication campaign designed to raise the issues, educate and inform South African men. “Social awareness campaigns of this nature should simultaneously be a call to action,inspire citizens to act and make a difference.

We will be creating and leveraging several platforms, events and communication activities that take the message beyond simply billboards and posters.

I believe that with this integrated approach, Brothers for Life will deliver an effective message and contribute to a more responsible, HIV aware and positive approach to the social role of men and encourage discourse.”