Joburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau called for an end to the stigmatisation of, and discrimination against, people living with or affected by HIV-Aids.

Mayor calls for end to stigmatisation of HIV-AidsAnti-discrimination is a key theme of the City of Joburg’s various World Aids Day commemorative events. (Image: Tau, who is also chairperson of the Johannesburg Aids Council, made the call ahead of Word Aids Day on Tuesday, 1 December.

Health and Social Development MMC Nonceba Molwele agreed with the Mayor, saying that stigmatisation and discrimination were at the core of several activities that the City and its partners have planned to commemorate this year’s event.

Political leaders and health representatives are expected to attend imbizos that the City will host in various regions on Friday, 4 December.

“The City’s Department of Health has also organised a number of activities, including door-to-door campaigns and dialogues, targeted at specific audiences,” said MMC Molwele.

One of these programmes is Tshepa Thapelo, which recognises the pivotal role played by churches and faith-based organisations in shaping attitudes around HIV-Aids and providing leadership in the fight against stigma and discrimination.

Another is the Tjovitjo campaign, a joint venture between the departments of Community Development, Health, and Sports, Arts and Culture. As part of this campaign, which seeks to communicate with learners through sports, arts and cultural activities, an event will be held at David Webster Park in Troyeville on Wednesday, 9 December.

At the event, five-a-side soccer, netball, theatre, poetry and music will be interspersed with dialogues and positive messages about HIV-Aids. “Man-2-Man Dialogues” will also be used to reach out to men to encourage them to take responsibility in combating the spread of HIV-Aids.

Ons Phola Hier, another campaign, is aimed at commercial sex workers and men who have sex with other men – people who are often reluctant to access healthcare services because of stigma and discrimination, and are therefore among the most vulnerable sectors of society.

Other World Aids Day commemoration events will take place at Sol Plaatjie informal settlement in Roodepoort (Tuesday, 1 December), Ennerdale Sports Centre (Thursday, 3 December), Midrand West Clinic (Saturday, 5 December), and Freedom Park informal settlement in Devland (Friday, 11 December).