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KZN health MEC unveils new billboards promoting responsible sexual behaviour

By Witness Reporter

MEC Simelane said the new marketing campaign has been met with a favourable response from many users of social media.

KZN Health Department poster.
KZN Health Department poster.

In an effort to promote healthier lifestyles and combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane has unveiled a series of new and eye-catching billboards that are being erected across the province.

These billboards, which have been a hit on social media, were officially unveiled on Friday on the department’s multimedia programme, KZN Health Chat.

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The department said the posters are designed to educate and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, and promote responsible sexual behaviour such as condom use, knowing one’s HIV status, adherence to anti-retroviral treatment (ART), preventing unplanned pregnancy, and promoting the role of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which protects against HIV infection.

The billboards will be placed in various high-traffic areas, in order to capture the attention of people most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and those at risk.

MEC Simelane said the government remained committed to tackling HIV/AIDS head-on, and that there was a great need to re-invigorate and keep relevant all HIV/AIDS messaging pertaining to its general awareness, prevention, treatment and adherence to treatment.

“Language is a very powerful tool. But most of our messaging on HIV/AIDS is old and has ended up sounding dull.

“When someone says, ‘Protect yourself, wear a condom,’ it might go above people’s heads – especially when it comes to young people – because it’s an old message that even we grew up hearing. It’s something we hear every day.

“My team and I then sat down and said, ‘What messages can we come up with?’… Because promoting responsible sexual behaviour and adherence to treatment is extremely important,” said Simelane.

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Six catchy billboards written in township parlance and youth slang:

  • Dwadla i-rubber, ugabhe i-ghost #FakiCondom (Slip a rubber on, and steer clear of trouble);
  • Ukuphusha ngo-brown kuzokufaka eghostini! #FakiCondom (Going in ‘raw’ will put you in trouble);
  • You tested HIV+? Don’t tatazel, Kuyaphileka nale shandisi! (You tested HIV positive? Don’t panic; you can live with HIV);
  • Gcwala ngama-ARV ukuze uhlale umoja! (Adhere to your treatment, so you can stay okay);
  • Ungalilahli isayidi, hlala emashini yama-ARV ukuze uhlale omoja! (Don’t fall by the wayside, stay on course by adhering to your Anti-Retroviral Treament so you can stay okay.); and
  • “Ivale mfana” – Sizowudl’u-PrEP i-HIV ize igubhe umswarelo (We’ll take our PrEP and stay protected from HIV until it says “sorry”);

MEC Simelane said the new marketing campaign has been met with a favourable response from many users of social media.