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UFS to implement a policy on HIV and Aids
2005-03-14

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) approved the implementation of a policy on HIV and AIDS.

“With this policy we recognise the seriousness of the HIV and AIDS epidemic and the potential impact this disease can have on both the UFS and the wider society.  We are committed to addressing HIV and AIDS in a positive, supportive and non-discriminatory approach by providing resources and leadership to implement HIV and AIDS university-based, as well as community outreach programmes,” said Dr Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector:  Student Services at the UFS.

The objectives of the policy include:

  • The protection of individual rights of confidentiality and freedom from discrimination.

  • The promotion of a sustained educational programme that provides counseling and current accurate information to the University community and to the outside community.

  • The promotion of behaviors that reduce or minimise the risk of acquiring HIV infection and generally create a safe environment.

  • The provision of leadership in teaching, research and community service on HIV and AIDS and its impact.

  • The provision of leadership in promoting the human rights based approach to HIV and AIDS, and thereby also breaking down the stigma attached to the illness.

“The policy also makes provision for the establishment of a Centre for HIV and AIDS within Kovsie Health.  This centre will render HIV and AIDS related support services and initiatives to the whole campus,” said Dr Moraka.

According to Dr Petro Basson, head of the Centre for HIV and AIDS at the UFS, there is less than 1% incidence of HIV positive cases amongst undergraduate students on the main and Vista campuses.  All these students take part in a voluntary confidential counseling and testing programme (VCCT).  In the case of postgraduate students, there is about 1% incidence on both campuses.

“The Centre for HIV and AIDS has led in the development of information campaigns and workshops for students and staff to make them aware of the risks of HIV and AIDS and the necessary measures to ensure their safety.  We have found that, because students have access to the right information, they are more cautious when it comes to HIV and AIDS.  Awareness campaigns are also conducted throughout the year – especially during rag and intervarsity,” said Dr Basson.

“Some departments have also taken the lead in introducing aspects of HIV and AIDS into academic programmes while important research on the HIV and AIDS topic has already been completed and receives continuous attention,” said Dr Basson.

To achieve a coordinated approach, a Life Skills Forum will be established consisting of representatives of among others the Student Representative Council (SRC), academic departments, trade unions, Kovsie Counseling and Development, etc.

“With this policy the UFS pledges its commitment to participate actively in the fight against the disease,” said Dr Moraka.

Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
14 March 2005

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