World Aids Day

01 December 2008

Dear colleagues and students

1 December, World AIDS Day, allows us to reflect on our responsibility to appropriately and effectively respond to one of the major challenges of the 21st century. This year's international theme of leadership is promoted by the slogan, Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise. Leadership in this field at UCT is demonstrated by our endeavours to (a) produce cutting-edge HIV- and AIDS-themed research, (b) ensure HIV- and AIDS-related education is an integral part of the formal curriculum of all faculties, (c) adopt sound management principles as we provide an effective response to the epidemic, and (d) reach out to the local community in various ways.

It is important that each of us reflects on our personal risk for HIV infection, and acknowledge whether we need to reduce our risk, thereby protecting ourselves and our partners from infection with the HI-virus. We can also provide appropriate leadership in terms of making a decision to get tested and encouraging others to do likewise. Additionally, we can all play our part to reduce HIV- and AIDS-related stigma and educate others, in order to dispel misinformation.

On this World AIDS Day, I would encourage you to take a look at some photographs that were taken by documentary photographer Paul Weinberg earlier in the year. They represent the UCT community taking a stand against HIV- and AIDS-related stigma. They are presently on display at both the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment.

Business, Government and Labour have agreed to observe World Aids Day with a 15-minute reflection as close as possible to midday. This is not only an opportunity for all to reflect on how deeply this epidemic has affected our nation, but also for us to look forward and unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Dr Max Price

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