'You keep standing up': Makhura inspired by courage of youths living with HIV

Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Tuesday encouraged the youth living with HIV and Aids not to give up amid the string of challenges they face daily.

Deputy President David Mabuza, in his capacity as Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), delivered the keynote address during the World Aids Day commemoration event on 1 December 2020 in Soweto. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Tuesday said that he was encouraged by the stories of young people living with HIV and Aids, with some detailing how they feel left out by society.

This World Aids Day, Deputy President David Mabuza hosted a dialogue with young people in Soweto, where they recalled their difficult journeys living with the virus which is still marred with stigmas.

Mabuza said South Africa and the world have made significant progress in the last decade to end HIV and Aids, however, the journey ahead was still long.

He reminded young people that they are not alone in this fight against the virus.

“There are many partners and stakeholders that have given themselves time to support. I’m happy that I’m seeing a lot of people working together to fight this pandemic,” Mabuza said.

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Born in Kenya, Nikkie said he arrived in South Africa at the age of three where his mother left him at an orphanage. He only found out later that he had HIV and the journey had been a difficult one.

Others also detailed how they fell pregnant contracting Aids at a tender age.

Premier Makhura encouraged the youth living with HIV and Aids not to give up amid the string of challenges they face daily.

“I want to encourage young people, your stories are very inspiring, you tripped but you haven’t completely fallen. You keep standing up,” he said.

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Unicef said that every one-minute and 40 seconds a child or young person under the age of 20 was newly infected with HIV last year. In 2014, the world started with a strategy to eradicate Aids by 2030, which leaves a decade to achieve this goal.

Around 2.8 million young people and children live with HIV globally.

Thirty-eight million people globally were living with HIV in 2019 and more than 7.7 million of them are in South Africa.

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