Bay one of three HIV/Aids hotspots

WORLD AIDS DAY: Holding a candle for World Aids Day yesterday are, from left, deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler, Sister Ethel Normoyle, of the Missionvale Care Centre, DA chief whip Werner Senekal and public health executive director Andile Tolom Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
WORLD AIDS DAY: Holding a candle for World Aids Day yesterday are, from left, deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler, Sister Ethel Normoyle, of the Missionvale Care Centre, DA chief whip Werner Senekal and public health executive director Andile Tolom
Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

Rise in infections blamed on risky lifestyle choices

Risky lifestyle choices have left Nelson Mandela Bay a provincial hotspot for new HIV/Aids infections, especially in women under the age of 25. This comes as the prevalence of the infection and syndrome has decreased dramatically in other districts in the Eastern Cape.

These revelations were made by wellness specialist Dr Margo de Koker at a World Aids Day commemoration at the Feather Market Centre yesterday.

World Aids Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have died

De Koker said the hotspot status could be attributed to risky lifestyle choices in the city.

“The thinking is that in the population of young women, we know that they consume more alcohol than they did previously.

“There is also the issue of sex for money, as many women have turned to sugar daddies,” she said.

“This is an adverse group . . . as women can be more manipulated and forced into unprotected sex.”

De Koker said the spread of HIV/Aids should be solved by dealing with social issues.

And with the population of young women in the city and surrounds at nearly 90 000, there had been 2 354 reported infections this year, she said.

Buffalo City Metro and the Chris Hani District Municipality were listed as two other hotspots in the province.

Yesterday’s event was held under the theme “It is in your hands to end HIV and TB”, and speakers shared their first experiences with the illness.

Sister Ethel Normoyle, of the Missionvale Care Centre, recalled how the city found itself dealing with the unfamiliar illness in the late 1980s.

“It was a journey for me as I did not know what I was dealing with. It was October 1988 and it was a plague on the country and in Port Elizabeth,” she said.

“Treatment had not evolved and we had limited resources to deal with the consequences of the illnesses.”

She said acceptance, love, compassion and care could go a long way in helping those infected.

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