Tackling Aids is our task

There has for many years been a critical gap when it comes to information available about what HIV-Aids services are available and where they are located.

HIV-911 fills this gap since it specialises in providing referrals to more than 6400 HIV-related service providers in South Africa.

Having partnered with the SA Business Coalition Against HIV-Aids (Sabcoha), HIV-911 is a critical tool for businesses needing to maintain a healthy workforce.

By using HIV-911 busy managers can ensure that staff infected or affected by HIV-Aids are referred to appropriate HIV-related expertise for care and support.

CSI staff can use the HIV-911 database to assess whether to fund particular initiatives by reviewing the number and availability of similar services in any given community.

HIV-911 also provides an essential service to the Aids Service Community, who use HIV-911 to network with one another and recommend supplementary support services for their clients.

To access the HIV-911 database of HIV-Aids services:

lView the directory online at www.hiv911.org.za

lCall the data collection-referral line on 0860 HIV (448) 911

lOrder provincial directories

lOr access the HIV-911 database via the National Aids Helpline

Ms Heustice, the director of the HIV-911 programme, explains: "We realised that we needed to create a stable of services that would enable access to HIV-related support in any area of South Africa.

"For some this could mean going online, for others a paper-based directory or access to a data collection-referral line would be more appropriate."

HIV-911 has partnered with the Foundation for Professional Development to produce a series of nine provincial directories each year.

Series 1 will be completed by the end of September this year, by which time over 18500 provincial directories will have been distributed across SA - most of them for free!

This project, called the National HIV-Directory Project, is the first of its kind in SA, and has been well received both nationally and internationally.

The experience of the National Aids Helpline, the country's HIV-related counselling helpline, strongly supports the need for the HIV-911 Programme.

As a result the National Aids Helpline uses the HIV-911 online database and hard copy directories to refer callers who are seeking service provider information to appropriate support services in their area.

The HIV-911 Data Collection Centre operates weekdays for both data collection and referral.

For each organisation on the HIV-911 database, one or a number of HIV-related services are detailed, with operating days, times and costs provided for each of these vital services.

Revisions are made to existing data and new organisations are added to the database on a daily basis.

The importance of HIV-911 was recognised when it was awarded the 2007 Unitech Excellence Award for Community Development.

HIV-911 is a flagship programme of the Centre for HIV-Aids Networking (HIVAN), University of KwaZulu-Natal and its provincial directory series was partially made possible by the support of American people through USAid-PEPFAR.