The Effects of HIV/AIDS in South Africa
1/3 of young women and + ¼ of young men aged 30 -34 years are living with HIV
Leaving behind an estimated 2 million children who have lost both parents to AIDS
Effects of HIV/AIDS
The effects of HIV/AIDS on families in South Africa is devastating. The majority of the population that this disease is infecting is the young adults, leaving behind a generation of children who are growing up without the love and care of their parents. Grandparents and older children are left behind to pick up the pieces which cause financial, emotional and developmental problems.
- HIV/AIDS effects stigma
- HIV/AIDS effects family life.
- HIV/AIDS effects income.
- HIV/AIDS effects education.
Although the South Africa government has educated society against the stigma of HIV/AIDS, many still feel shame and secrecy. This affects the care available to the sufferer and their families making it difficult for many to access drugs, income and support.
HIV/AIDS is responsible for over half of those children in South Africa who have lost both of their parents. These children are left to be looked after by the elderly grandparents (often the Grandmothers) or older children causing many emotional and financial impacts on family life.
If your parents have HIV/AIDS they are more likely to be unemployed and therefore have no regular source of income. 80% of families lose half their income when the major bread winner dies of HIV/AIDS.
Those families living with someone suffering from HIV/AIDS are less likely to be able to attend school or miss school as they are caring for their sick parents. When parents die of HIV/AIDS, the vulnerable children left behind often live in temporary households as they are moved from family to family therefore making it difficult to maintain regular school attendance. Children growing up in these temporary families or child-headed households are more susceptible to poor self-esteem, poor nutrition and poverty.
With our partners we establishe Safe Parks within the townships. These are community centres which allow a variety of programmes to be delivered from them e.g. Home based carers, feeding schemes, childcare advocates, support groups, advocacy and empowerment workshops.
HIV/AIDS and our Programmes
Home Based Care
Home Based carers are the main driving force of our HIV/AIDS programme. They are trained in their work and as local people they are trusted and respected within their community. They support families on a weekly basis through providing medicinal, emotional and practical help as well as advocating for their rights. Taking the care directly into people’s homes is essential as they often can’t access it themselves due to poverty, poor infrastructure or health.
Home based carers work can often involve practical help such as changing bandages and providing access to vital medicines. They educate the sick and their families on basic medical care and advise them on the help available to them through social grants and local HIV/AIDS support groups. But their work also encompasses the emotional needs of the families and over time they build strong, trusting relationships together.
The feeding programme includes:
- Food parcels to families struggling to find enough to eat
- Food supplements (SEJO's) for HIV/AIDS sufferers
- Meals provided at the Safe Parks during or after school
- Soup runs within townships
- Vegetable gardens for families with access to land and seeds to plant
Life is harder when you’re hungry. The feeding programmes via the Safe Parks help ensure the health and well-being of people effected by HIV/AIDS that we work with, making a real difference to their lives.
Training and support
Support groups have been established in some Safe Parks to enable family members to network together and support one another. Listening and learning from one another enables the sufferers families to feel empowered and connected rather than isolated and alone.
HIV/AIDS education is vital in teaching local communities about the effects of this illness and how to avoid it. Our local partner, Themba Interactive uses drama to engage with and teach audiences about sexual reproduction, health and wellness, HIV/AIDS and prevention, human rights, social justice and diversity.
This education is delivered through specially designed workshops based at Safe Parks during holidays and after school.
They are attended by children in our Safe Park programme and provide safe places for the children to explore the issues around HIV/AIDS with trained peer educators.
Men, in particular, can often find the issues around poverty and HIV/AIDS difficult to talk about. Workshops using drama and other creative processes are vital in providing the opportunity for them to discuss these issues and establish ways to overcome them in a safe and neutral environment.
How you can help?
If you would like to support BSTrust there are a number of ways to do so: