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Thursday, 13 April 2017 09:21

Education has the power to loosen the stranglehold of HIV

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HIV thrives when education fails. While medical advances are vital to slowing the spread of the virus, their impact is minimised if people aren’t informed about sexual health.

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Although we’ve come a long way, stigma and misinformation remain dangerous threats. Because of this Dr Wendy Fraser has assumed the task of transferring lifesaving knowledge about sex to young people in vulnerable spaces.

The good doctor, who earned her medical degree from Wits University, moved to Acornhoek in 2005. There she worked at Tintswalo Hospital, where she ran the surgery ward. But in 2014 she shifted her focus to education and joined Seeds of Light, an NPO focused on furthering the education of disadvantaged children, as well as developing their skills to an employable level. But perhaps the most important aspect of Fraser’s work with the organisation is protecting the youth from HIV and teaching them about their bodies.

“I believe that everybody deserves the opportunity to be optimistic about their future,” says Fraser. Within a progressive society people with HIV can lead happy lives and should be treated with love and respect. But the long-term aim is to loosen the stranglehold that the virus has on our people. This is far more about creating an aware community than developing drugs.

The first step is to dismantle destructive forces like stigma and lack of knowledge so that our effort can be inclusive. Sexual education has the power to take the legs out from under this beast. And people like Fraser deserve our support as they lead the charge to save South Africa’s children.

Last modified on Thursday, 13 April 2017 09:35

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