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.
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.