All South Africans are feeling the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We need to re-act in a way that is constructive and NOT destructive.
This is your world so take control. Don’t just stand on the sidelines and watch what it does to people around you. You are our future so become active and make sure that you have a future!
Activate your involvement - don’t sit on the sidelines
- DISCUSS how HIV/AIDS will affect the kind of society you are growing up in.
- PLAN how you are going to protect yourselves. This includes fighting being discriminated against. Dont treat people (friends or classmates) differently just because they are HIV positive. If you are positive, dont allow others to let you feel a lesser person. WE ARE ALL EQUAL.
- RECOGNISE the positive role you can play in society. If you know someone who is sick, give them a chance to talk to you. They are probably sad and scared and need a friend.
HIV & School
Most of you go to school. At school there are hundred and one rules that you have to follow. Youre probably tired of these rules, but the truth is, they probably ensure that chaos doesnt reign in the school. Do any of you know if your school has rules or policies in place regarding HIV. Ask your educators about this and talk to your parents about what they think should be done in schools about HIV/AIDS.
Guidelines regarding HIV/AIDS in the School
Your right to equality is protected by the Constitution. But learners and educators are also governed by the South African Schools Act, the National Education Policy Act and the National Policy on HIV/AIDS for Learners and Educators in Public Schools and Students and Educators in Further Education and Training Institutions.
HIV Policy at School
- Does your school have a Code of Conduct that outlines its HIV/AIDS policy?
- Does it include guidelines for behaviour that may create the risk of HIV transmission?
- Is the issue of HIV discussed with the parents and the community at all or is it just ignored?
Guidelines for developing an HIV/AIDS Policy
- Research and provide information;
- Form a representative HIV/AIDS Committee;
- Write up the policy (and link it to what the government says about HIV/AIDS);
- Get everyone to talk to one another;
- Get everyone to agree to the policy; and
- Implement the policy by making sure everyone knows about it.
But remember, no code of conduct or policy will work without the co-operation of educators, parents and learners so get everyone talking to each other. Don’t be shy, this is important.
If you are fearful, then you need to read about the disease a little more. Also you should talk about your fears. Talk to your parents, educators and friends. If you are worried about playing sport with someone because you know they are HIV positive, talk about this with the coach or educator. But dont make the person feel unwanted. Playing with an HIV+ person does not put you at risk of contracting the virus.
Remember, be pro-active. Check with the school nurse if she has a complete first aid box close at hand. This first aid box should be checked once a week and be restocked when necessary and used whenever there is an injury at school, no matter who the injured person is.