Aids centre enriches lives

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The University of KwaZulu-Natal's Aids and HIV research centre is helping scores of women infected with the virus to live normal, healthy lives.

The Caprisa Vulindlela clinical research unit in Pietermaritzburg was established in 2004.

Funded by the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, the centre dispenses ARVs, youth-friendly reproductive health services and does voluntary testing.

Sibusiso Ntsele, director of the treatment programme, said 2600 patients were being treated.

But he said social behaviour was a major challenge.

"Women still live in oppressive conditions and cannot stand up for what they believe in because they are dependent on men."

Ntsele said research had shown that irresponsible social behaviours contributed to new infections, especially among pregnant women and women under the age of 30.

"Unemployment is high and jobs are limited to the informal and forestry sector," said Ntsele.

Inkosi Sondelani Zondi donated the land on which the centre is built.

He said more people were dying before the centre was established.

"People are now living longer because of treatment and support from the centre," Zondi said.