HIV/Aids

26 October 2015

Global HIV funding for SA is waning

A lack of adequate government funding and a decrease in global attention on the spread of HIV/Aids in the country is having potentially disastrous consequences, forcing community organisations to turn to businesses for much needed money to treat those who are infected.

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A growing global misconception that South Africa’s HIV/Aids pandemic is under control amid a national roll out of antiretroviral drugs is leading to a worrying decrease in aid funding from abroad, according to Western Cape-based non-profit organisation Kidzpositive.

The move has forced organisations such as Kidzpositive to plead with South African corporates to increase their funding, with one of the country’s leading property funds, Rebosis, stepping in to host a major fundraising drive this week. 

Read: Decrease in HIV funding deadly

Launched in the early 2000s, Kidzpositive now assists more than 3,000 children living with HIV and Aids in the Western Cape through a combination of counselling, therapy and early childhood development interventions.

According to the organisation’s chief operating officer, Ian Miller, a lack of adequate government funding and a decrease in global attention on the spread of HIV/Aids in the country is having potentially disastrous consequences.

“HIV sadly is still the number one cause of deaths in South Africa, mostly due to lack of lifestyle skills and proper counselling and education around the virus,” said Miller. “Great work is being done to prevent children being born HIV positive, however we picking up that new infections are continuing due to new mothers not being educated around vertical transfusion.”

Read: Global fund running out of money

Hospitals and clinics focussed mostly on the health aspect of patients, Miller said, adding that issues such as child development and counselling “falls outside what the government funds (and) where children born with HIV are concerned”.

Rebosis Property Fund spokesperson, Deborah Bailey, said it was the responsibility of South African businesses to increase their support for such community-minded organisations.

“Community-minded support is a very important part of our business model, which is why we are throwing our resources behind a major fundraising initiative for Kidzpositive, which takes the form of a corporate golf day this year,” she said.

Rebosis has donated in excess of R1.5m to 13 various charitable organisations during 2015 as part of their corporate social investment programme, of which Kidzpositive is a recipient.

“We will continue to drive efforts in education, health, job creation, entrepreneurship, income generation, as well as other areas, in the coming years,” said Bailey.Said Miller: “Aid organisations such as ourselves are desperate for more partners such as Rebosis, as what we are finding is that companies abroad which have been staunch funders in the past think that the HIV/Aids pandemic is under control. But just because the government is dispensing ARVs [antiretroviral drugs] does not mean the crisis is over.

“We are finding that without the adequate counselling, HIV/Aids patients on ARVs are ending their treatment when they feel better, which can have potentially disastrous consequences for the country’s HIV infection rate.”

A growing global misconception that South Africa’s HIV/Aids pandemic is under control amid a national rollout of antiretroviral drugs is leading to a worrying decrease in aid funding from abroad, according to Western Cape-based non-profit organisation Kidzpositive.

Read: HIV/Aids awareness works

The move has forced organisations such as Kidzpositive to plead with South African corporates to increase their funding, with one of the country’s leading property funds, Rebosis, stepping in to host a major fundraising drive this week. 

Launched in the early 2000s, Kidzpositive now assists more than 3,000 children living with HIV and Aids in the Western Cape through a combination of counselling, therapy and early childhood development interventions.

According to the organisation’s chief operating officer, Ian Miller, a lack of adequate government funding and a decrease in global attention on the spread of HIV/Aids in the country is having potentially disastrous consequences.

“HIV sadly is still the number one cause of deaths in South Africa, mostly due to lack of lifestyle skills and proper counselling and education around the virus,” said Miller. “Great work is being done to prevent children being born HIV positive, however we picking up that new infections are continuing due to new mothers not being educated around vertical transfusion.”

Read: SA gets more funding to fight HIV

Hospitals and clinics focussed mostly on the health aspect of patients, Miller said, adding that issues such as child development and counselling “falls outside what the government funds (and) where children born with HIV are concerned”.

Rebosis Property Fund spokesperson, Deborah Bailey, said it was the responsibility of South African businesses to increase their support for such community-minded organisations.

“Community-minded support is a very important part of our business model, which is why we are throwing our resources behind a major fundraising initiative for Kidzpositive, which takes the form of a corporate golf day this year,” she said.

Rebosis has donated in excess of R1.5m to 13 various charitable organisations during 2015 as part of their corporate social investment programme, of which Kidzpositive is a recipient.

“We will continue to drive efforts in education, health, job creation, entrepreneurship, income generation, as well as other areas, in the coming years,” said Bailey.

Said Miller: “Aid organisations such as ourselves are desperate for more partners such as Rebosis, as what we are finding is that companies abroad which have been staunch funders in the past think that the HIV/Aids pandemic is under control. But just because the government is dispensing ARVs [antiretroviral drugs] does not mean the crisis is over.

“We are finding that without the adequate counselling, HIV/Aids patients on ARVs are ending their treatment when they feel better, which can have potentially disastrous consequences for the country’s HIV infection rate.”

Read more: 

Kids and HIV  

Diagnosing HIV 

Govt probes HIV funding

 

Ask the Expert

HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

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