One minute of silence provides lifesaving information to South Africa’s deaf population
Launch of new TV advertisement set to make everyone sit up and look.
If your television goes silent this month – don’t touch the dial. During the month of November leading up to World AIDS Day, Brothers for Life is providing lifesaving HIV prevention information to South Africa’s deaf population. At the same time the bold new statement by Brothers for Life aims to show the majority of South Africans what it is like to be living in a world that is silent and to draw attention to the vulnerability of people living with disabilities and HIV infection.
Eric Mahamba, from Khyalitsha, who appears doing the signing in the advertisement, says,” he is really thrilled by the effort that has been made to communicate with the deaf community. This is a first in South Africa and brings a twofold message into everyone’s home – people living with disabilities and the Brothers for Life values.” He is extremely proud to be allied with this campaign and is confident it will have a positive impact on the deaf community at large.
People living with disabilities are often the most neglected communities when it comes to HIV related information even though they make up 12% of our population. The recent HSRC survey revealed that 14.1% of disabled persons that participated in its study were living with HIV, only 21% of disabled persons had accurate knowledge on HIV and only 19.8% were aware of their HIV status – the lowest out of all groups surveyed.
Amongst people living with disabilities 14.1% reported having multiple and concurrent partners. This places them at increased risk of HIV infection as there is a direct correlation between the number of sexual partners and risk of HIV infection.
“South Africa’s National Strategic Plan for HIV recognizes the importance of targeting people with disabilities”, says Minister Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya , Minister of Women, Children and Disabilities. “Yet often this very vulnerable community is excluded from HIV-related campaigns as radio is not accessible to people who are deaf, billboards cannot be seen by people who are blind and television messages are not accessible to both groups and those with multiple disabilities. For disabled people to access this information, all these disabilities need to be catered for, and the messages need to be tailored to optimize reach”.
In addition to the television commercial, Brothers for Life will be printing its manifesto brochure in Braille so that this can be used as part of its education efforts targeting South Africa’s blind population. During the month, the Brothers for Life please call me number will be used to provide subscribers with information about HIV amongst the disabled communities. It will also encourage subscribers to talk to people with disabilities about the behaviours that place them at risk of HIV infection.
Brothers for Life is a national Men’s Campaign that aims to create a movement of men that will ignite and spread throughout South Africa. The campaign draws upon the spirit of Brotherhood that exists among South African men. It is intended to encourage men to positively influence each other as men, partners, parents and as leaders around issues relating to HIV prevention, the prevention of gender based violence and male sexual and reproductive health.
The campaign is a collaborative effort collaborative effort led by South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), the Department of Health, USAID/PEPFAR, Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), Sonke Gender Justice, the United Nations System in South Africa and twenty other civil society partners working in the field of HIV prevention and Health.