The Kwa-Zulu Natal area has the highest AIDS rate in South
Africa. The percentages are shocking; 56% of all persons in Natal are HIV positive
with over 25% of males between ages 30-34 positive and
almost 30% of women testing positive.
The social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS was perpetuated
by the prior South African government. This attitude
prevents many from speaking out about the causes of illness
and deaths and leads physicians to record uncontroversial
diagnosis on death certificates. It is quite likely that the
percentages of HIV/AIDS infected people are much higher.
The current government now recognizes HIV/AIDS
and is implementing programs to help.
David, Bridget, and Mary Andersen met with Dr. Bondo at St. Mary's Clinic as well as Dr. Paula Diab of the Sinethemba Clinic this past December to discuss the best way for The Simunye Project to help now that the current government has recognized the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Because of the difficulty of getting transportation to the clinic, The Simunye Project has agreed to pay for the transportation, which is provided by the Simunye Zulu Lodge.
The project continues to supply Future Life; an immune booster that the doctors feel is saving lives.
Both at the Sinethemba and St. Mary's Clinic the patients will undergo a 4 week long literacy program, as dictated by the National Department of Health. This program aims are to inform, educate and counsel patients on all issues regarding living a healthy lifestyle, nutritional support, social worker support, information about how to take the medication, relevant side effects, and illnesses associated with being HIV positive.