CITY TO ESTABLISH FIRST HIV MUSEUM.
An interactive, educational and informative HIV exhibition, which is part of a line-up of events leading up to the much anticipated 21st International AIDS Conference which will be held in Durban from 18 to 22 July, has been launched.
The South African Voices Exhibition was launched by Mayor James Nxumalo at KwaMuhle Museum on Monday, 11 July, a step towards establishing the City’s own HIV Museum in the near future. This will be a first for South Africa.
The exhibition is the City’s legacy project and will be showcased at KwaMuhle Museum until December 2017.
The exhibition is a collection of artifacts, historical and photographic items that pay tribute to those who have suffered and succumbed, as well as those who are currently living with HIV/AIDS.
“We have seen the devastating impact of this disease in our communities,” said Nxumalo, speaking at the launch.
Nxumalo said the Municipality has pledged its unwavering support in various initiatives aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS infections and supporting those who are infected and affected.
“I am certain that in the days leading up to the conference, this heritage site will be a hub of activity as our international friends and members of the public visit this facility to see art that gives a true reflection of the strides made to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in communities,” he said.
The City, said Nxumalo, also wants to build a fully-fledged HIV Museum for South Africa in the near future. “Our Municipality has shown its strong commitment to this vision. Discussions with various stakeholders are at an advanced stage for this vision to be realised,” Nxumalo added.
During a parade through the streets of Durban yesterday morning, to mark a seven day countdown to the AIDS Conference, the City’s leadership, Provincial and National Government, civic organisations, various youth groups and eThekwini residents all threw their weight behind South Africa’s vision of eradicating all new HIV infections by 2030.
Nxumalo said: “We are committing ourselves to this vision and we are aiming to reach 100 percent when it comes to (antiretroviral) ARV access.”
Part of the vision’s programme is the Butterfly Project, an initiative by the Dennis Hurley Centre. The project is set to achieve the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 vision which aims to get 90 percent of patients on treatment, advocates for at least 90 percent of people to know their status and for 90 percent of people to be virally suppressed, which mean that their HIV viral load must be at a reduced stage.
At the countdown event, dignitaries supported the project by signing their names and the number 90.
Communities are urged to get behind the movement on 13 July by wearing red, white and black clothing. Placards, posters, candles, balloons can also be displayed in reception areas, building entrances and public amenities. Pictures can be posted to social media with the hashtag #5Days to #AIDS2016.
People are also requested to observe a moment of silence by lighting candles and releasing balloons at 12h15 to remember those who have died from the virus. Motorists can also get involved by hooting at 12h15.
The International AIDS Conference is expected to benefit business in the hospitality industry to the tune of R800 million, as the City expects to welcome about 20 000 delegates and media from 180 countries.