Students win big in HIV competition

24 May 2011 | Story by Newsroom

prize winnersWinning ways: DVC Prof Crain Soudien (far left) and IMSA's Dirk van Niekerk (far right) flank winners of the First Things First campaign's UCT leg, (from left) Ntshediseng Matla, Kelsey Gibbs and Nandi Rayner.

Two UCT students have won handsome prizes, and a third one stands to take home a brand new vehicle, after they took part in the First Things First campaign early this year.

Nandi Rayner walked away with a laptop, Kelsey Gibbs received a book voucher, and Ntshediseng Matla has been entered into a grand-prize draw for a Toyota Yaris, which takes place at the 5th Southern Africa AIDS Conference in Durban in June.

The First Things First campaign was funded by Innovative Medicines South Africa (IMSA) in partnership with the Department of Health, the South African National AIDS Council, the Foundation for Professional Development, Higher Education South Africa and the Higher Education HIV and AIDS Programme.

It aims to generate awareness around HIV/AIDS, and encourages first-year students at 17 universities, including UCT, around the country to be counseled and tested.

About 20 000 students participated. According to IMSA's Dirk van Niekerk, they were "thrilled" by the response to the campaign, and the turnout bodes well for the next phase. At a prize handover on 20 May, deputy vice-chancellor Professor Crain Soudien hailed IMSA, and said the campaign was critical for UCT to maintain the current low levels of HIV/AIDS prevalence among its students.

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