The Undiagnosed Network
To help us win the fight and to find out more click HERE
HIV/AIDS AND THE LAW
Everybody has heard about AIDS. It is one of the most widely talked about illnesses in history. HIV/AIDS is a big problem in Africa and South Africa. But very few people understand the real causes of HIV and what can be done to prevent it.
There are many untrue stories about AIDS. People who are living with HIV or AIDS are discriminated against in all kinds of ways in our society. For example, some people are refused employment or proper health care. This is mostly because very few people understand what HIV and AIDS mean. It is important that people understand what HIV and AIDS are, what causes the illness and what the law says about peoples rights.
What are HIV and AIDS?
HIV stands for the Human Immune Deficiency Virus. This virus attacks the immune system which is the body's defence against disease. HIV can live in our bodies for years without us looking or feeling sick in any way. Most people with HIV feel healthy and are able to work and live healthy lives for many years. It is only when a person develops an AIDS-related illness that he or she becomes very ill.
AIDS is caused by HIV. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is the name given to a group of serious illnesses that are caused by your body being unable to fight infections. People with HIV or AIDS are more likely to get some diseases and infections because their immune system cannot fight them off.
The different stages of HIV
There are 5 stages of the HIV disease:
Primary HIV infection
After an early feeling of sore throat, swollen glands, headache, muscle aches or similar flu-like symptoms, you will return to feeling completely well.
The asymptomatic or "silent" stage
If you have the primary HIV illness you can feel very well for many years. But the virus slowly destroys your immune system during this stage. You can also easily infect other people through unprotected sex.
Early HIV symptomatic disease
After many years, some people will begin to show mild symptoms of HIV disease, for example:
· swollen lymph glands
· occasional fevers
· mild skin irritations and rashes
· fungal skin and nail infections
· mouth ulcers
· chest infections
· weight loss
Medium-stage HIV symptomatic disease
This is the stage when people with HIV can become quite ill without developing the 'Aids-defining illnesses', for example:
· oral or vaginal thrush that keep coming and going
· herpes blisters on the mouth or genital that keep coming and going
· ongoing fevers
· ongoing diarrhoea
· significant weight loss (more than 10%)
Late-stage HIV disease (AIDS)
If there has been no treatment to build up the immune system, the damage done to the immune system by HIV causes opportunistic infections, cancer and HIV-related damage to other organs such as the brain. This stage is usually called 'AIDS'. People with AIDS often have many illnesses at the same time, for example:
· very bad diarrhoea
· extreme weight loss
· bad pneumonia
· brain infections
· confusion and loss of memory
· bad skin rashes
· pain and difficulty swallowing
How is HIV passed on?
HIV is mostly passed from one person to another in these ways:
· through unprotected sex (sex without a condom)
· from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding
· through infected blood products, for example, infected blood transfusion from the blood bank
· through infected needles shared by drug users
· medical staff cutting or pricking themselves with infected scalpels or needles
Besides these ways, HIV is very difficult to pass on. You cannot get AIDS from someone who is HIV positive through kissing on the lips, hugging, sharing food and drink or using the same bath or toilet.
Anyone can get AIDS, but some people are more vulnerable because they do not have the power to say no to unprotected sex or because of their risky lifestyles. The groups who are most vulnerable and have the highest infection rates are:
· young women between 15 and 30 years old
· sexually active men who have more than one partner, particularly young men
· migrant and mine workers
· transport workers
· sex workers
· drug users who use needles
· people who practice anal sex
Young women are the most vulnerable because they are the most common victims of rape and sexual abuse and are often powerless to say no to unprotected sex. Young girls are also at risk because of the myth that having sex with a virgin will cure you of AIDS. This is completely untrue.
Other vulnerable groups are :
· people who have different sexual partners and do not always practice safe sex.
· drug users who share needles without sterilising them
· people who practise anal sex. This is dangerous because skin can be torn causing injuries.
How can you treat HIV/Aids?
There is no cure for HIV, but there are many ways to help people living with HIV to improve the quality of their lives, for example :
· by treating the opportunistic infections that are caused by HIV so that people can live longer, for example, by giving people anti-biotics to fight diseases
· by following a healthy diet, exercising and living in a clean and healthy environment
· by providing counselling and emotional support to the person and his or her family
· treating people with anti-retroviral drugs
Anti-retroviral drugs cannot cure a person living with HIV but they can strengthen the immune system and slow down the effects of the virus. Anti-retroviral drugs should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor.
Why do people living with HIV/AIDS suffer prejudice and discrimination?
Fear leads to discrimination and victimisation against people living with HIV or AIDS. People have been taught to believe that only gays, prostitutes, people who sleep around and drug users get infected with HIV. They think if you are not one of 'these', you are safe. This makes it easy for some people to discriminate against others and blame them for the disease, while not protecting themselves. And because people fear the discrimination they will face if others know that they are HIV positive, they are afraid to go for an HIV test or to be open about their HIV status.
HIV/AIDS affects every one of us, whether we are gay, lesbian or heterosexual.
The biggest problem in fighting HIV/AIDS is breaking the silence that surrounds the epidemic. Although thousands of people are ill or dying, we are still afraid to speak about it. Families often hide the fact that a relative had died of an AIDS-related illness. People who are infected are afraid of being stigmatised (rejected by their families and communities), so they hide their illness.
Most discrimination against people living with HIV or AIDS is based on ignorance and fear.
HIV/AIDS is also linked to power in society. Usually it is the least powerful people who are most at risk, for example:
· poor people are more likely to be infected than rich people
· women do not have the power to have safer sex - many men are unwilling to use condoms
· young girls, particularly virgins, are especially vulnerable
To act against the ignorance, fear and power linked to HIV/AIDS, there is a need to teach people how to avoid HIV. But it is also important to encourage them not to turn against those who are HIV positive.
There is also a need to make it easier for people to be open, to go for tests, and to get proper health care. HIV must be treated as an illness and not a shame that must be kept hidden and secret. Communities need to become more caring towards people with HIV and orphans of people who have died from AIDs-related illnesses. They also need to take more responsibility for preventing the spread of the disease.
How does poverty help spread HIV?
Where people don't have a basic education or access to radio or TV, it is hard to teach them about HIV and how to avoid passing on the virus. It is also difficult to change the sexual behaviour of people who live in desperate poverty in order to prevent HIV infection.
In addition, very poor people cannot afford the basic requirements for a healthy lifestyle - such as healthy food, a clean environment and clean water. They also cannot afford the costs of basic health care - transport to clinics/hospitals, medicines, anti-retroviral drugs, etc - unless the government makes these accessible to them.
So, it is clear that poverty cannot cause HIV or AIDS, but poor people are more at risk of HIV infection and of developing the disease more quickly.
HIV is mostly passed from one person to another in these ways:
· through unprotected sex (sex without a condom)
· from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding
· through infected blood products (for example, infected blood transfusion from the blood bank)
· through infected needles shared by drug users
· medical staff cutting or pricking themselves with infected scalpels or needles
Besides these ways, HIV is very difficult to pass on. It is impossible to pass on HIV through kissing, sharing knives, forks and cups, toilet seats, swimming pools, and so on. The virus has to pass from one person's blood to another person's blood.
This chapter explains the legal and human rights of all people who are living with HIV or AIDS. Each section in this chapter says what steps people can take to protect their rights in different situations
At the end of the chapter there are typical problems people have to face about HIV and AIDS. We discuss what steps people can take to deal with each problem, and refer you to the relevant information in the manual.
Our Constitution has a Bill of Rights. These rights apply to all people living in South Africa and they must be respected by the courts, parliament, private organisations and individual persons.
The Bill of Rights includes civil rights such as the right to vote, the right to freedom of speech, and socio-economic rights like the right to access to food and health care services.
Socio-economic rights are important because they can help to improve the living conditions of people living with HIV or Aids. They say what rights people have to basic health care, education, social services, shelter, and so on. The government has a duty to make it possible for people to use their socio-eonomic rights. But it must do this within its available resources. In other words, the government must provide what it can afford. But, if it cannot afford to provide for these rights immediately, it must show that it has a plan to do so in the future.
Any person or organisation has the right to go to court to claim or defend all these rights, either for themselves or for other people.
The Equality Clause
One of the most important rights in the Bill of Rights is the right to equality. This is called the 'Equality Clause'.
Under the Constitution, equality means that everybody shares the rights and freedoms that are listed in the Bill of Rights.
THESE REASONS CANNOT BE USED FOR DISCRIMINATION
The Equality Clause lists 17 reasons that people are not allowed to use to discriminate against another person. These are: Race, Gender, Sex, Pregnancy, Marital Status, Ethnic Origin, Social Origin, Colour, Sexual Orientation, Age, Disability, Religion, Conscience, Belief, Culture, Language and Birth
The government has passed a law that will enforce equality. This law is called the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (No 4 of 2000). The Act spells out what types of discrimination is against the law and how people can be compensated if they have been discriminated against.
The Equality Act does not list HIV/AIDS status separately as a ground for non-discrimination on the basis of disability. But the Act does recognise that HIV/AIDS status leads to discrimination. It says the courts must decide in each case whether HIV/AIDS should be regarded as a dis-ability or as discrimination as a separate ground.
Does the equality clause protect people Living with HIV or AIDs?
The Equality Clause says that people with disabilities should not be discriminated against. The question is : is living with HIV or AIDS a disability? Disability is not the same as incapacity which means that a person cannot do a job properly
Some people say HIV and AIDS should be protected on grounds of disability under the equality clause and Equality Act because:
· People with HIV have a medical condition that may affect their day-to-day activities, even when they do not look or feel ill. This is a disability.
· People with HIV often face discrimination that makes it more difficult for them to live and work together with other people.
People with disabilities are generally discriminated against in our society. But people living with HIV or AIDS are disabled by a condition or illness that makes them suffer the same kinds of handicaps or discrimination which other people with disabilities experience. Attitudes from people in society and restrictions in employment are two examples of this. . So, people living with HIV or AIDS need to be protected from discrimination in the same way as other people who are disabled.
Some people also believe that HIV should be treated as a separate listed ground for non-discrimination under the Equality Act because:
· people living with HIV or AIDS are discriminated against in many of ways
· it would be easier to show in court that a person was unfairly discriminated against on grounds of their HIV or AIDs status
· they could claim unfair discrimination on grounds of their HIV/AIDS status and on grounds of disability.
Protecting and enforcing your rights means using and claiming your rights to protect yourself. People can do this by going to court, or to other bodies such as the Public Protector, the Equality Court and the South African Human Rights Commission.
WHAT THE RIGHTS MEAN FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV OR AIDS
Acknowledgements, HIV/AIDS & The LAW: A Resource Manual, 2nd
Many people living with HIV or AIDS complain that they are treated badly at hospitals and clinics. Sometimes medical staff even refuse to treat patients who have HIV or AIDS. People also complain that information about their illness is not kept confidential.
Health care workers also have rights, including the right to a safe working environment, while patients have rights to:
· testing for HIV and informed consent
· medical treatment.
Confidentiality means that doctors, nurses, psychologists, dentists and other health care workers have a moral and legal duty to keep all information about patients confidential. Any information about the patient's illness or treatment cannot be given to another person unless:
· the patient consents (agrees) to this
· the information is about the illness or treatment of a child - then health workers can tell others but only with the permission of the child's parent or guardian
· the patient is dead - then the doctor must get permission from the next-of-kin (the person's closest family)
SOME RULES ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY
Telling other health care workers
A health care worker must get a patient's permission before giving any of that patient's medical information to another health care worker or to another health care centre.
Telling a patient's sexual partner
A health care worker may not tell the patient's sexual partner that the patient has HIV, unless the partner appears to be at risk because the patient refuses to practise safer sex. The health care worker must counsel the patient on the need to tell their sexual partner and to practise safer sex. The health care worker must then warn the patient that if he or she does not tell their sexual partner or practise safer sex, then the health care worker will have to tell the partner about the person's HIV status.
Telling a court
A court can order a health care worker to give them confidential information.
HIV/AIDS AS NOTIFIABLE DISEASE
A notifiable disease means that health care workers have to keep statistics about the number of cases they see, and inform the health authorities. Because AIDS is not a notifiable disease, a health care worker does not have to report it to the health authorities when a person is diagnosed with AIDS or when someone dies of AIDS The Department of Health sent out draft regulations in April 1999 to make Aids a notifiable disease but these have not been passed as law.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND OPENNESS
HIV/AIDS is often not an open issue, mainly because people living with the disease fear the negative label society gives to it and the discrimination that they may suffer. This makes it very difficult for them to come forward and tell others about their illness. People should be encouraged to be open about their HIV status, so that society becomes less prejudiced and more aware of the epidemic.
Being open about your HIV or AIDS status means that you choose to tell certain people, but you do not lose your right to confidentiality with a doctor, nurse, health care worker or employer, for example. Your personal right to privacy and confidentiality must still be respected. It is your choice to tell others, and to choose who tell.
What can you do if a health care worker abuses your right to confidentiality?
You can complain to the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). You can also make a civil claim for damages (compensation) against the health care worker, hospital or clinic, or any member of the public who has abused your rights.
The HPCSA has published ethical guidelines on the treatment and management of patients with HIV. You can contact them for information on these guidelines.
HIV testing and informed consent
Every person has the right to privacy, dignity, respect, to make their own decisions and to protect themselves from harm done by others.
This means that each one of us has the right to have our own decisions about our body treated with respect. In other words, no patient can be given medical treatment without their consent.
Consenting to medical treatment has two parts to it: information (understanding) and permission (agreeing) This means you:
· understand the type of treatment that you are going to get
· give your permission for the treatment
With an HIV test, you must know what the test is, why it is being done and what the result will mean for you before you agree to the blood sample being taken. This is called pre-test counselling. After the HIV test results have been received you must be counselled again to help you understand and accept the effect that a negative or a positive result will have on your life. This is called post-test counselling.
The Department of Health's National policy on Testing for HIV (2000) says the patient should:
· understand and be aware of the test
· know the benefits, risks, alternatives (other choices) and social implications of the test result
Some rules about HIV testing and consent
Here are some rules to remember :
· You do not have to sign a written consent form before an HIV test, you can give verbal consent.
· If you go to hospital, you cannot be tested for HIV without your knowledge.
· If a hospital has wall posters saying they do HIV testing on all patients, this does not mean every patient has given consent to the test.
Exceptions to the rule of informed consent
These are the only exceptions to the rule that a person must give their consent to treatment or an operation:
· if a patient needs emergency treatment
· testing done on blood donations
· HIV tests are routinely done on the blood of all pregnant women for health research, but the name of the woman is not attached to the blood sample, so no-one knows whose blood it is.
Who can give consent?
Adults who are of sound and sober mind can give consent to medical treatment. Children over 14 can also give their own consent to medical treatment.
What can you do if an HIV test was done without your consent?
If an HIV test was done without consent, your rights have been abused.
You can complain to the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPSCSA). You can also bring a civil claim for invasion of privacy, and a criminal charge of assault against the health care worker or the person they were acting on behalf of.
The right to health care and medical treatment
The Constitution gives every person the right of access to health care services and medical treatment. This includes having access to affordable medicines and proper medical care.
For many people the new Medicines and related Substances Control Amendment Act of 1997 (Medicine's Act) will help towards making medicines more affordable for people.
The government is obliged to improve access to health care services, including essential medicines. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has been lobbying and taking legal action to have cheaper HIV/AIDS drugs imported into South Africa.
Government has a responsibility to promote the nation's health. It must provide fully-staffed hospitals and clinics, as well as medicines, to give health care services to everyone.
The right to access to health care services includes the right to proper care from a health care worker. It is against the law for a health care worker to :
· refuse to treat a person because they have HIV
· treat people with HIV differently to other patients.
The Department of Health has developed policy guidelines for managing and treating patients with HIV/AIDS. Every patient living with HIV/-AIDS has a right to these treatments.
If a hospital or clinic refuses to treat someone living with HIV/ AIDS, they can be reported to the Department of Health or the Public Protector. The case can also be taken to the High Court, which can review and cancel the hospital's decision to refuse to treatment.
Laws that give people rights at work
Workers living with HIV/AIDS are often discriminated against by their employers, supervisors or colleagues (other employees). The following are some of the different laws that give people rights at work.
The Constitution gives all employees the right to be treated fairly at work. The Bill of Rights says:
· everyone has the right to fair labour practices
· everyone has the right to equal treatment, and there can be no discrimination against a person because they are a woman, disabled, old, and so on
The Labour Relations Act (LRA)
The LRA gives employees the right to be treated equally. It is an unfair labour practice to discriminate against an employee on any grounds, including, race, gender, sex, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, sexual orientation, belief, political opinion, culture, language, marital status or family responsibility.
Discrimination is 'automatically unfair' if it breaks any of the basic rights of employees. If a person is discriminated against because of their disability for example, this is automatically unfair and the case will go to the Labour Court. (See case-study overleaf Hoffman v South African Airways, 2000.)
The Employment Equity Act (EEA)
The Employment Equity Act of 1998 aims to create equality in the workplace by prohibiting unfair discrimination on the same grounds listed in the Constitution and the Labour Relations Act (LRA). Both the Constitution and the LRA protect people living with HIV/AIDS from being treated unfairly in at work, because both laws say it is against the law to unfairly discriminate against a person with a disability.
The EEA is more specific about the rights of people living with HIV or AIDS. The EEA explicitly prohibits unfair discrimination against people at work on grounds of their HIV status.
The EEA prohibits testing for HIV in the workplace unless this is authorised by the Labour Court. If any employer (state or private) wants to test a person for HIV before employing her/him, they will have to get permission from the Labour Court to do this.
The EEA doesn't cover members of the South African National Defence Force, the Secret Service or the National Intelligence Agency. But members of these organisations can still take their cases to the Constitutional Court.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act and Mine Health and Safety Act
Sometimes an accident at work can cause a bleeding injury. If the injured person is HIV-positive and someone who tries to help him or her also has an open wound, there is a small chance of the helper becoming infected if his or her wound comes into contact with the injured person's blood. The employer has a responsibility to make sure that the workplace is safe and that employees are not at risk of HIV infection at work.
There are new regulations issued by the Department of Labour which say:
· employers must keep rubber gloves in the first aid box
· all staff must be trained so that they know what safety measures to take if an accident happens
Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (No 130 of 1993) (COIDA)
COIDA gives employees the right to compensation if they are injured or become ill at work. If you get infected with HIV because of a workplace accident, you can claim for compensation.
The Medical Schemes Act No 131 of 1998 and Regulations: Government Gazette 20556, 20 October 1999
Medical aid as a form of insurance is an important employee benefit in the workplace. In the past, the majority of medical schemes refused to cover illnesses that were linked to HIV infection.
The Medical Schemes Amendment Act of 1998 prohibits discrimi-nation on the grounds of 'state of health'. This covers a person living with HIV or AIDS. It means that the medical scheme cannot refuse to cover reasonable care that could prolong the health and lives of people living with HIV or AIDS
The Medical Schemes Act came into operation on 1 January 2001. The Act stops medical schemes from discriminating against people living with HIV or AIDs by saying:
· the Medical Aid Scheme may not be registered if it discriminates directly or indirectly against any person on the basis of their health status
· all schemes must offer a minimum level of benefits, decided by the government, to employees with HIV or AIDS. The minimum levels of benefits include:
· treating all opportunitistic infections for HIV or AIDS
· hospital admissions with treatment
· they do not have to provide anti-retroviral drugs
Some rules about HIV/AIDS and rights at work
The Employment Equity Act prohibits testing for HIV in the workplace unless this is authorised by the Labour Court. An employer cannot :
· force a person who is applying for a job to have an HIV test
· automatically make an HIV test part of a medical examination
· force someone who is already working for them to have an HIV test
Other rules that apply are :
· A person who is HIV positive does not have a duty to give this information to his or her employer because of their right to privacy.
· If you tell your employer about your HIV status, the employer cannot tell anyone else without your consent. If the employer tells anyone else, this is breaking your privacy and right to confidentiality, and it is possibly an unfair labour practice.
· A doctor or health care worker who tells an employer about an employee's HIV status without their consent is acting against the law. This is breaking the employee's right to confidentiality.
· An employer cannot demand to know if the cause of an illness is HIV infection.
· An employer cannot refuse to employ you because you have HIV.
· An employer cannot dismiss you because you have HIV.
· An employer cannot dismiss you because you have HIV, even if other employees refuse to work with you.
· The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act also protects an HIV-positive person from unfair discrimination in the workplace.
Code of Good Practice on HIV/AIDS and employment
The Department of Labour has published a 'Code of good practice on key aspects of HIV and employment under the Employment Equity Acts. This Code gives employers and trade unions guidelines to ensure that people who are HIV-positive are not unfairly discriminated against in the workplace. This includes provisions dealing with:
· creating a non-discriminatory work environment
· HIV testing, confidentiality and disclosure
· providing equitable employee benefits
· managing grievance procedures
The Code also provide guidelines for employers, employees and trade unions on how to manage HIV/AIDS in the workplace. This is based on the fact that the HIV/AIDS epidemic can affect the workplace and people working there on a number of different levels. These guidelines look at the problem as a whole. It requires people to take all factors into account when managing HIV in the workplace, for example:
· creating a safe working environment for all employers and employees
· developing procedures to manage occupational incidents and claims for compensation
· introducing measures to prevent the spread of HIV
· developing strategies to assess and reduce the impact of the epidemic on the workplace
· supporting individuals who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS so that they can continue to work productively for as long as possible
For a copy of the Code, see website: www.labour.gov.za/docs/aids/index.htm
What happens if you become too ill to work?
All employees have a right to sick leave and an employer has no right to discriminate against or dismiss an employee who uses these rights. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act says an employee can have 6 weeks paid sick leave over any 3-year cycle.
But, an employer is allowed to dismiss an employee on grounds of incapacity and poor work performance, even if the employee has not used all their sick leave. This means, if an employee is unable to do their job properly because of their illness then the employer will eventually be able to dismiss them.
There are very clear guidelines for employers to follow when they want to dismiss an employee for incapacity. For example, the employer must see whether the incapacity is going to be permanent and must also investigate alternative employment. for the employee.
What can you do to protect your rights at work?
Employees can take disputes about dismissals or discrimination to a Bargaining Council or the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The Bargaining Council or CCMA will try to settle the dispute by conciliation, mediation or arbitration.
Cases about unfair discrimination and automatically unfair dismissal will be referred to the Labour Court. Employees can appeal against decisions of the Labour Court by going to the Labour Appeal Court.
SUMMARY OF RIGHTS OF EMPLOYEES WITH HIV OR AIDS
Acknowledgements to HIV/AIDS and the Law: A Resource Manual, 2nd Edition. Published by AIDS Law Project & The AIDS Legal Network
Women are seriously affected by HIV/AIDS. Gender discrimination causes women to be treated differently from men in many spheres of life. Women are also at great risk of being infected by HIV because:
· Women often depend on men for money. A woman might find it very difficult to tell her partner to use a condom, because she might be afraid he will reject her and she will lose the money she lives on.
· Many men believe that women don't have a right to say no to sex with their partners. Traditional views like this on the role of women in sexual relationships mean that it is difficult for women to make their own decisions about sex and to demand that their partners practise safer sex.
The right to equality
The Bill of Rights has an equality clause which says it is against the law to discriminate against a person on certain grounds, for example gender, sex, sexual orientation and pregnancy.
A Commission on Gender Equality has been set up to monitor and investigate issues on gender equality and to stop discrimination against women. Complaints involving discrimination can also be sent to the South African Human Rights Commission.
The law defines rape as intentional, unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent. Rape is an act of violence against women.
HIV infection because of rape
If a woman has been raped she may want to be tested for HIV to find out if she is HIV negative at the time of the rape. She can ask the district surgeon to do an HIV test on her. Even if the result is negative, she should go for another test after 3 or 4 months. In this way she will be able to prove that she was infected by the rapist.
She should report this to the prosecutor in her case who will be able to raise it in court. If a rapist is found by the court to be HIV positive, and he knew of his HIV status before the rape, this could be used to give him a harsher sentence.
A rape survivor can also make a civil claim against a rapist. If she has been infected with HIV during the rape, and she can prove this, she can make a claim against the rapist for her medical expenses and for pain and suffering because of the rape.
Marital rape (rape in a marriage)
Any sex against the wishes of a woman is rape, including in a marriage. A woman can lay a criminal charge of rape against her husband under the 1993 Prevention of Family Violence Act.
There are many reasons why some women are not able to, or do not want to, continue with a pregnancy. In these situations some women choose to end their pregnancies early by having an abortion. The Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act says that woman can have an abortion. So, women living with HIV can apply for an abortion.
A woman with HIV cannot be sterilised unless she agrees to this. All women, including women with HIV, have the right to have children. However, women who are HIV should think carefully about having children as it is possible that the children will also get HIV.
Domestic violence includes physical and emotional abuse. Most victims of domestic violence are women and children. Women who suffer abuse are usually unable to take control of their relationships and unable to demand safer sex. This puts them at a greater risk of getting HIV.
The Domestic Violence Act protects women by giving them a quick way to apply for a protection order to stop their partner from abusing them again.
Sexual harassment is unwanted attention given to you in the workplace, for example, pinching your bottom, staring at your body in an offensive way, touching parts of your body, rude comments or signs, requests for sex, and so on. Sexual harassment is an unfair labour practice and should be reported to a supervisor.
Commercial sex work
Commercial sex workers are vulnerable to HIV because:
· their customers often don't want to use condoms
· sex is often violent and without a condom this makes it easier to pass on HIV
· many sex workers are raped or abused but they are unable to report this to the police because sex work is a crime
Customary law and women's rights
Some customary rules affect the rights of women by giving them less power than men in the community.
For example, a customary marriage gives the husband some wide powers over his wife. He also has control over the property. If they get divorced the husband and his family usually keep the property and he does not have to take care of his ex-wife. If the husband dies, his family, and not his wife, keeps the property .
Rules that make women unequal to men make women more at risk of HIV and AIDS, because they are unable to make their own decisions about their bodies, for example, where they can't demand that their husbands practise safer sex by using condoms.
Customary rules that go against the Bill of Rights can be tested in the Constitutional Court. The courts will have to balance the right to live by customary law with the other rights in the Bill of Rights, especially the right of women to equality.
Virginity testing is a customary practice usually done on girls. Some people believe that this prevents the spread of HIV and AIDS as it encourages young girls not to have sex - if a young girl knows she is going to have her virginity tested she will be less likely to have sex. Other people say this isn't true and it may have the opposite effect because -
· young girls and women have anal sex -which has a higher risk of transmitting HIV - to avoid vaginal penetration
· there is a myth that a person can be cured of AIDS by having sex with a virgin so men are encouraged to have sex with virgins which leads to rape and other forms of child abuse.
Mother-to-child transmission of HIV
Research has shown that giving an anti-retroviral drug called AZT to HIV-positive pregnant mothers before they give birth decreases the risk of passing HIV on to the baby (this is called mother-to-child transmission). Studies in South Africa have shown that a drug called Nevirapine, which is cheaper than AZT, can also be used to prevent transmission of the virus from a mother to her baby.
Certain provincial governments in South Africa have said they are going to supply Nevirapine to pregnant mothers in all their hospitals and clinics.
The Constitutional Court has said that the national government must make it possible for all pregnant mothers to have access to drugs that will prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Gay and lesbian communities have been blamed for the spread of HIV/AIDS. This adds to the discrimination and prejudice against gay people. A gay person with HIV or AIDS might suffer a double burden of discrimination and negative attitudes towards them: because of having the disease and because of being gay.
The Constitution makes it unlawful to unfairly discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation (who you choose to have sex with).
Lesbians and gay men have all the rights discussed in this chapter, under the Bill of Rights, medical rights, rights at work, the rights of youth, children and prisoners, and they have access to the kinds of social support available. Lesbians may be affected by some of the issues discussed under Women and HIV/AIDS.
The Sexual Offences Act makes the age of consenting to sex different for lesbian and gay youth. For heterosexuals the age of consent is 16, but for same-sex relations the age of consent is 19.
Because of laws like these and general prejudice and discrimination against gay and lesbian people, important ways of educating people about HIV and AIDS are lost.. For example, sexuality education in schools ignores or avoids discussion about lesbian or gay relationships. Most of the HIV or AIDS prevention materials aimed at school students do not discuss same-sex relations.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights protects children (anyone under the age of 18) by giving them the right, among others to be cared for, to have food to eat, to be protected, given proper health care and education.
How does HIV affect children?
HIV can affect children in the following ways:
· where they have HIV themselves, either because they are born with it, they become sexually active from a very young age, through child sexual abuse
· where their parents have HIV or AIDS and they have to live with the illness and loss
· where they have to live with the illness and loss of friends, teachers, and other family members.
What are the consequences for children?
Children who have HIV or whose parents are ill because of HIV or AIDS are often discriminated against by people in the community. Many suffer from neglect or are abandoned as babies. Children are refused access to crèches, some are refused entry into schools and students are excluded from getting bursaries. Orphans of parents who have died from AIDS are particularly vulnerable. Many of them turn to crime, drugs, or to the streets in order to survive.
How are children protected by the law?
Children are protected by various international, regional and local human rights documents :
· the Constitution
· the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). South Africa has signed and ratified this
· the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. South Africa has signed and ratified this
Access to education
The Constitution says everyone has the right to basic education. If a child is stopped from going to school because of his or her HIV status, this is unlawful and can be challenged in court.
HIV is never passed on through casual contact. It is very difficult for children of any age to get HIV from contact at school. Therefore the risks of infection of other children cannot be used as a reason to exclude children with HIV from a school.
Parents do not have to tell the school authorities if their child has HIV, even if the school asks them to fill this in on the application form.
Right to sexuality education
Sexuality education means teaching young people about the human body, the changes that their bodies go through when they are teenagers and how to respond to feelings for another person. Young people also learn about what sex is, the different kinds of sexual choices, how babies are made, and why and how to use condoms and other contraceptives. Sexuality education includes teaching about safer sexual practices to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which South Africa has signed and agreed to follow, says that a child should be given information that will help the child to develop her or his physical and emotional well-being. Sexuality education and information about HIV/AIDS is part of this.
Children's health and medical rights & HIV/AIDS
Rules regarding testing and confidentiality for children include:
· Children who are 14 or older can consent to medical treatment on their own, including having an HIV test, but until they are 18 they need the consent of their parents or guardian for an operation.
· If the child is younger than 14, the child cannot consent to an HIV test without the consent of the parent or guardian. The test results must be given to the parents or guardian.
· If a child consents to an HIV test, they have same rights to confidentiality as an adult. So, they have the right to keep their HIV test results private (to him or herself). Nobody can disclose the HIV status of someone who is 14 or older without the consent of that person, including not telling the child's parents.
· A school does not have to be told about a child's HIV status.
· A children's home or place of safety can be told of a child's HIV status if the child is under 14 and it is in the child's best interests for this information to be passed on. The information must be kept confidential by the staff of the home, and the child must not suffer any kind of discrimination because of it.
Adoption and fostering
The Child Care Act does not say that parents must have a medical examination before getting permission to adopt a child.
But Child Welfare will not allow someone to adopt a child before they have gone through a medical examination. Child Welfare says the following people must have an HIV test before adoption can happen:
· the parents who want to adopt
· the child
· the natural parents, if it is possible to find them
Fostering is usually for a short period so children are not tested for HIV before they are fostered.
Some rules about HIV/AIDS and adoption or fostering
Remember the following points when dealing with cases of adoption or fostering :
· Child Welfare will not allow a person who has HIV to adopt a child. But, this is not something that the law demands and it can be considered an invasion of a person's privacy.
· Child Welfare will tell parents who want to adopt whether the child they are adopting has got HIV. But, this is not what the law demands so not all adoption agencies do this.
· If a child is under 14 and his or her HIV status is known, this can be told to the foster parents.
· There is no medical examination by Child Welfare before they place a child in foster care. So, people with HIV cannot be prevented from fostering a child.
Prisoner's rights are also protected by the Constitution. Awaiting-trial prisoners or people who have been sentenced lose some of their rights, such as freedom of movement, but they keep other rights such as the right to dignity. The Bill of Rights gives prisoners certain specific rights. In many cases, prisoners with HIV or AIDS are discriminated against, for example having information about their condition disclosed.
Some rules about prisoners and HIV/AIDS
These are some rights that prisoners have :
· It is against the law for a prisoner to be tested for HIV against his or her wishes or knowledge. A prisoner does not have to have an HIV test even if the prison authorities demand this. Informed consent must always be given for an HIV test.
· It is against the law to force a person to make a confession or admission, for example about his or her HIV status, so that this can be used against him or her.
· The courts cannot use evidence that was forced out of a prisoner in a way that goes against the person's rights.
· Prisoners have the right to adequate medical treatment. This means prisoners with HIV should have access to the same kinds of treatment and care that are available to non-prisoners.
· Prisoners have the right to confidentiality about private issues like their health. If prison officials know about the HIV status of a prisoner, they may only tell someone else if the prisoner has given them permission to do so.
· It is against the law to segregate (separate) a prisoner with HIV or AIDS from other prisoners.
· HIV education and condoms should be available to all prisoners, as they are available to people in the community.
The rights of accused people
Accused people are people who have been charged with crimes but who have not yet been found guilty or not guilty.
Can an accused person be forced to have an HIV test?
Based on the right to privacy and freedom and security of the body, an accused person cannot be forced to have an HIV test.
But the South African Law Commission has recommended that the victim of a sexual crime should be able to apply to a magistrate to have the accused tested for HIV and the result should be told to the victim if -
· there is a possibility that blood or semen was transferred during the sexual crime
· not more than 50 days have passed from the date when the crime took place
· the accused person has been arrested or charged.
Bail and sentencing for rape accused with HIV/AIDS
All accused people have a right to apply for bail. However, where the crime is very serious, the law makes it more difficult to get bail. The Criminal Procedures Second Amendment Act (no 85 of 1997) says what the conditions are for granting bail if a serious criminal offence has been committed, for example, rape - particularly where the accused knew that he was HIV positive or had AIDS at the time of the rape. The Act says a person accused of rape cannot get bail, unless he can show very good reasons why it is in the interests of justice that he is given bail.
The Criminal Law Amendment Act (No 105 of 1997) sets down minimum sentences for people who would previously have received the death sentence. The minimum sentence for a person living with HIV or AIDS who is convicted of rape, is life imprisonment. This is much higher than the minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for a person convicted of rape who is not living with HIV or AIDS
The Bill of Rights says everyone has the right to have access to social security. If people are unable to support themselves and their dependants they have the right to social assistance.
People living with HIV are able to work and support themselves during the first phases of their illness. However, eventually many people with HIV become sick and unable to look after themselves.
There are different kinds of assistance available to people who are unable to work. The state and welfare organisations provide small sums of money. Some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) give support like food, items of clothing or emergency housing. The Social Assistance Act (No 59 of 1992) is the law which says when and how people can qualify for government assistance. It aims to protect people who cannot work because of old age, illness or a physical or mental disability. When people living with HIV or AIDS become unable to support themselves and their families, the Act says that the government should provide some assistance to them.
There are different types of social grants available to people:
· old age pensions
· disability grants
· foster care grants
· care dependency grants
The government has said that people living with HIV or AIDS will qualify for social security and assistance such as nutrition, transport, rent, burial costs and school books, where necessary.
Can a person living with AIDS get a disability grant?
The Act says that you can apply for a disability grant if you:
· are a South Africa citizen
· are 18 years old or over
· have consulted a doctor, and the medical report shows that you are unable to support yourself
· have an incapacity that means that you are unable to get any kind of employment
· do not have a husband or wife who is able to support you
· do not live in a state-run institution, for example a prison, psychiatric hospital or a state-run old age home or
· are a full-time South African student younger than 21 and unable to support yourself
You can only qualify for a disability grant if the disability stops you from working, a person who has HIV or an AIDS-related illness will only get a disability grant if they become too sick to work. If that person is unemployed but still fit for work, they will not get a grant. The Department of Social Development will look at the medical report to make sure that the disability will stop the person from working for more than 6 months. Usually, a person will lose their grant if they become healthy enough to work.
The grant is R700 a month (in July 2003).
How to apply for a disability grant
To apply for a disability grant, you must go to the nearest Department of Social Development or Pension office.
You must take these documents with you:
· an ID document
· proof of marital status, if you are married or divorced
· proof of income or possessions, including the income and possessions of your husband or wife if you are married
· medical certificate from your doctor, which must say that the disability is likely to continue for longer than six months
At the Welfare office you must fill in an application form in front of a government official. You and the official must sign the form together. You are given a copy of the form.
If you are too sick to apply for the grant yourself, you can ask another person to go to the office on your behalf. That person will need to fill in your details on the form.
Applications usually take three months to process. The Department of Social Development will decide whether you have a disability and whether this prevents you from supporting yourself.
See Page 858 ‘Fast-tracking grants
A grant-in-aid is help in the form of nursing care. This grant is given to people who are too sick to take care of themselves at home. When a person applies for a grant-in-aid, they must bring the same forms to the Department of Social Development as they would for a disability grant.
Other forms of relief
Most public hospitals give medical care for people living with HIV on a sliding scale. This means each person pays according to what they can afford. Pregnant women and children below the age of 6 years can get free medical services.
Under the Social Assistance Act the following grants are available for the support of children, including children living with HIV, or whose parents are living with HIV or AIDS :
· foster care grants
· maintenance grants
· care-dependency (special care) grants
The Department of Health has developed a strategic plan for the years 2000-2004. The plan focuses on speeding up quality health service delivery. The plan has a strong focus on HIV/AIDS.
The goals of the plan
The goals of the plan are to reduce the number of new HIV infections, particularly among youth, and to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on individuals, families and communities.
The department aims to achieve their goals in the following ways:
· a public awareness campaign to influence change in in sexual behaviour and to encourage openness
· increase access to voluntary HIV testing and counselling
· promote increased use of condoms to reduce the spread of STDs and HIV infections
· improve the treatment of people living with AIDS
The strategic plan will focus on four priority areas:
· treatment, care and support
· monitoring and evaluation
· human rights.
Ways to prevent the spread of the disease are to
· reduce the rate of STD's
· promote safer sex and change sexual behaviour
· reduce mother to child transmission through testing and counselling
· ensure safe blood supplies
· provide better services for people exposed to HIV infected persons through contact with blood or by sexual assault
· increase access to voluntary HIV testing and counselling services
Treatment, care and support
The aims of this focus area are to
· improve treatment, care and support for people living with Aids in hospitals, clinics and by doctors. Increase access to affordable medicines and treatment.
· provide better care and support services within communities. Provide resources for home care and address stigma in communities.
· develop and implement programmes to support children and orphans affected by AIDS.
Monitoring and evaluation
This focus area concentrates on research and monitoring and aims to
· research the development of an AIDS vaccine by 2005
· research anti-retroviral drugs and reduce mother to child transmission
· research other forms of treatment including traditional medicines
· monitor AIDS programmes on a regular basis
This area focuses on the protection and enforcement of people's rights. It aims to
· create a culture of openness and acceptance around HIV/AIDS and STDs
· ensure that the rights of people living with AIDS are protected
· develop mechanisms to assist people living with AIDS to enforce their rights
The strategic plan is guided by a set of principles which include:
· full participation of people living with AIDs and community involvement in prevention and care
· non-discrimination and protection of rights of HIV infected people
· sensitivity to the culture, language and social circumstances of people
· government is responsible for providing education, care and welfare for all people
· government and civil society must be involved in the fight against AIDS
For more on the 5-year strategic plan, see the website www.hst.org.za/doh/stratplan such as at workplaces
The government’s plan for comprehensive treatment and care for HIV and Aids in South Africa – the roll-out plan for anti-retroviral drugs for treating people with HIV
The government has approved a plan, which includes providing people with anti-retroviral treatment in government hospitals and clinics, as part of its broader plan to fight HIV and Aids. The Department of Health has been given instructions to start implementing the plan.
According to the Plan there must be, within a year, at least one service point in every health district across the country. These service points must give people access to ongoing care and treatment. Within five years there must be a service point in every local municipality. The care and treatment of people living with HIV includes providing them with traditional health treatments and also anti-retroviral treatment for people who need it. In order to qualify for anti-retroviral treatment a person’s physical condition must be certified by a state doctor.
To provide people with this kind of care, the Plan looks at employing thousands of health professionals and a large training programme to make sure that all health-care workers, doctors and counsellors have the knowledge and the skills to ensure safe and effective use of medicines.
A specific budget has been allocated to the programme. This consists of ‘new money’ which means the programme will not take away money from other programmes of health care and social services. Over half of the budget that will be spent over the next five years in implementing the programme will go toward upgrading health facilities and infrastructure. The focus will be as much on educating people about prevention and on promoting a healthy lifestyle as on providing appropriate medical treatment.
Department of Health and HIV/AIDS Department
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)
(011) 403 0265
AIDS Legal Network
Aids Training and Information Centre (ATIC)
Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
(012) 338 9033
Department of Health
Life Line manages the AIDS helpline for the Department of Health. Contact your nearest provincial Life Line office to find out the number of the Life Line centre nearest to you.
Aids Helpline Toll-free (0800) 012-322
Life line regional offices telephone numbers
of this chapter were originally based on relevant chapters in
the publication HIV/AIDS and the Law, by the AIDS Law Project
and Lawyers for Human Rights. It was first published in May 1997
and a 2nd edition came out in 2001. The book has detailed
information on the sections in this chapter. The cost of the
book is cheaper for non-profit organisations than for commercial
organisations. For more information about the book, you can
contact the AIDS Law Project -
Dr Vincent is a doctor at Langa day hospital. He tells two other doctors about his patient, Themba's, HIV status. Themba, is very angry about this. He believes Dr Vincent should have kept his HIV status confidential. Themba wants to take action against the doctor.
What are his rights?
Doctors, nurses, health-care workers, and so on have a legal and moral duty to keep information about a patient absolutely confidential.
What can you do?
· You can refer Themba to a lawyer who will make a civil claim on his behalf against the doctor.
· You can also help Themba draw up an affidavit complaining about the doctor's conduct.
· Send the affidavit to the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
The principal of the local high school, Mrs Shabangu, refuses to admit a student, Melanie, to the school because Melanie is HIV positive.
What are her rights?
It is an act of discrimination to keep a child out of a school because of their HIV status.
What can you do?
You can help Melanie and her parents write a letter of complaint to the South African Human Rights Commission about the school's actions. The SAHRC must investigate the complaint. The services of the SAHRC are free.
Susan is a machine-operator in a factory. She tells her employer that she is HIV-positive. The employer tells Susan that she will have to leave her job, because the other workers will complain if they find out and he doesn't want any trouble in his factory.
What are her rights?
Everyone has the right to be treated equally and fairly at work. There can be no discrimination against a person because they are HIV-positive. Both the Constitution and the Labour Relations Act protect people living with HIV or AIDS from being treated unfairly.
An employer cannot dismiss a person because he or she is HIV-positive, even if other employees refuse to work with this person.
What can you do?
You can help Susan fill in the correct form for her to refer her case to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Brian applies for a job with the South African Police Services (SAPS). On the application form he fills in that he is HIV positive. The SAPS refuses to employ him and give him no reasons explaining their refusal.
What are his rights?
The SAPS must give Brian reasons why he didn't get the job. The Labour Relations Act says an employer cannot refuse to employ a person because they have HIV. This is discriminating against the person.
What can you do?
You can help Brian find out the reasons why he didn't get the job. If the SAPS refuses to give the reasons, Brian can complain to the Department of Safety and Security.
If the reasons do not seem valid, and Brian suspects that the real reason he didn't get the job is because he is HIV-positive, he can take up a case of an unfair labour practice involving arbitrary discrimination against the SAPS. You can help Brian fill in the correct form to refer his case to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The CCMA will investigate the allegation of discrimination.
Tina had been in an accident and is a patient at the Lagunya Hospital. Tina agrees to an HIV test. The test is positive.
Tina's wounds need to be treated every day, but the nurse treating her finds out the results of the test and refuses to treat her again. She also tells all the other nurses. They too refuse to touch Tina, and she is left in pain, with bload-soaked bandages for many hours.
What are her rights?
Everyone has the right of access to health care services. It is against the law for a health care worker to refuse to treat a person because they have HIV, or to treat people with HIV differently to other patients.
What can you do?
You can refer Tina to a lawyer to make a civil claim against the health workers or the hospital on behalf of the patient.
You can help Tina draw up an affidavit explaining her complaint. Include the names the health workers involved. Send the affidavit to the relevant medical council which can discipline their members.
Send the affidavit to the South African Interim Nursing Council or the Health Professions Council of South Africa, which has the power to discipline nurses.
If any doctor refused to treat Tina, send the affidavit to the Health Professions Council of South Africa, which has the power to discipline doctors.
You can also help Tina send a letter of complaint to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
PROBLEM 6: Applying for a disability grant
Nobantu and Sipho are married with three young children. Both partners are HIV-positive.
Sipho has lost his job because he became too ill to work. The doctor says that he could die within 6 months. Nobantu earns R400 per month doing part-time domestic work but she has also become increasingly ill and her employer has warned her on a number of occasions that she will have to find someone else to do the work.
What does the law say?
Both Sipho and Nobantu are able to apply for a disability grant. The Minister of Social Development has also notified the department that applications from HIV-positive people for disability grants should be 'fast-tracked'. This means that these applications should be given priority and processed faster than any other grant applications.
Both disability grants and care-dependancy grants in respect of children, can be ‘fast-tracked’ for a person who is sick with AIDS. However, only if a person is in stage 4 of AIDS will they qualify to have the grant fast-tracked. If a grant is to be fast-tracked it means it should take no more than five (5) working days to be processed. The procedure for applying to have a grant fast-tracked is as follows:
There is a prescribed medical form that is issued AND stamped by the District Office of the provincial social services department. The person must take this form to a state doctor and not their own private doctor to have it completed. The person either has to take the medical form back to the social services department or the doctor sends it. The grant should then be available within 5 days.
A child dependency grant will only be paid if a child’s physical condition stops him or her from going to school. The child must be in the full-time care of a care-giver at home.
When the CD 4+cell count gets to a certain level the person can take anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to boost their immune system and fight the virus. ARV was previously only available through private doctors. Now the government has agreed that it will make anti-retroviral treatment available to all people who have reached a certain stage of the illness. However a person who wants to receive the treatment must be medically certified by a state doctor. The roll-out plan for making ARV’s available to everyone with HIV will begin this year.
When a person reaches stage 4 of the illness it means that they are very sick and are in the final stages of AIDS.
Reference: See page 848a: The government’s plan for comprehensive treatment and care for HIV and Aids in South Africa
These guidelines will help you to run an HIV/AIDs campaign in your community - when you are planning your campaign you must keep them in mind.
What is the aim of the Campaign?
The aim of the campaign says what you want to achieve at the end of the campaign. To think about your aim ask yourself this question:
What do I want to achieve with this campaign?
So, for example, your aim(s) for an HIV/AIDS campaign could be:
I want to:
· reduce the rate of HIV infection in my community and
· ensure that people with HIV or AIDS and their families in my community are given care and support"
How are you going to achieve your aims?
Setting objectives for the campaign
Objectives are more specific than aims; they help you to achieve your aims. You can ask yourself the question:
What must we do to achieve our aims?
Your objectives could be as follows:
To build openness and awareness around HIV/AIDS
We will do this in the following ways -
· wear a red ribbon
· act as role models to show support for the campaign
· organise AIDS awareness-raising events for example, marches, cultural events, protests, prayer meetings, loudhailers, information tables in public places
· openly support people who are open about their HIV status and encourage people be tested for HIV
· print posters, pamphlets or use graffiti
· encourage and support people living with AIDS to go public about their illness
· encourage testing by organising testing drives and ask community leaders who are willing, to go public about their results
· encourage leaders and other influential people who are HIV-positive to become role models for other people by being open about their status
To educate people about preventing HIV infection
We will try to get people to change their sexual behaviour in the following ways -
· public meetings - invite people to speak on HIV/AIDS, particularly people who are HIV-positive and willing to speak in public about their illness
· speeches - ask institutions like schools, churches, workplaces, etc if we can send a speaker to talk about HIV/AIDs
· workshops - present community education workshops
· chat shows - ask to be invited to speak on chat shows of local radio stations
· newspapers - write articles for newspapers on prevention of AIDS, non-discrimination and care for people living with AIDS or ask journalists to write them
· plays and songs
· Forums and community meetings
To develop community care projects
We will try to help community members living with HIV/AIDs, their families and orphans in the following ways -
· openly organise support and care for people living with HIV or AIDs
· educate people with HIV/AIDs about healthy eating
· start vegetable garden projects to help provide the right food to people who cannot afford it
· make sure the local health services keep supplies of the cheap medicines that can be used to fight common infections that harm people with AIDS
· organise support groups where people living with HIV or AIDs can meet and talk to each other
· educate people living with AIDS about their rights in terms of medicine, grants, employment, non-discrimination, etc
· train volunteers in basic home care and counselling so that they can help with house visits and also provide training to home care-givers
· work with the Department of social services or the Child Welfare Society to encourage people in the community to take care of orphan children, for example, to provide foster care
Who are we going to target?
The campaign should reach everyone in the community but we can also target specific sectors which are more vulnerable -
The education and prevention part of the campaign
· sexually active youth, particularly young girls
· migrant and transport workers
· sex workers
· women, particularly those in relationships with HIV positive men
· men who are HIV positive
· drug users
The awareness and openness part of the campaign
These groups are most likely able to influence people's attitudes -
· The local mayor
· Ward councillors
· Members of national and provincial parliaments
· Local leadership
· Religious leaders
· Traditional leaders
· Sport and cultural stars
· Popular business people
· Community organisation leaders
· Union leaders
· Community radio DJ's and newspaper reporters
The support and community care part of the campaign
People who need information, care and/or support:
· People who are HIV positive
· People who are sick with AIDS and need home care
· Children whose parents are dying or have died of AIDS
People who can help provide information, care and/or support -
· community structures and leaders
· community welfare organisations
· religious leaders
· women's groups
· local business
· individual volunteers for home care or foster care projects
What will our message be?
You need to give the campaign an identity and decide what the main messages will be. For example, the Treatment Action Campaign encourages people to wear T-shirts with the slogan 'HIV-positive' to help bring AIDS awareness to the public.
Community education workshop on HIV/AIDS
Time: 2 hours
Breaking the silence around HIV/AIDS
OTHER WORKSHOP PLANS
This is only one example of a workshop plan to educate people about HIV/AIDS. The Aids Law Project has published a HIV/AIDS training manual containing workshop plans on all aspects of HIV/AIDS. You can use these workshop plans to guide you when you are planning a workshop in your community.