HIV Peer Education and Prevention
We support the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Biasexual, Transgender and Intersex) communities by mitigating discrimination, stigmatization and homophobia in society, especially People Living With HIV/AIDS.
This programme has three focus areas:
Education: Educating persons, mainly LGBTI, on HIV related health issues in order to change mind-sets on healthy lifestyles and risky behaviour.
Prevention: To prevent new and reinfections of HIV through sourcing and distribution of barrier methods and intimacy packs.
Support: To provide support to People Living With HIV/AIDS, through a buddy-system and mainly LGBTI, to ensure ARV adherence and promote lifestyle behaviour to enhance quality and length of life.
HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Aids - Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
LGBTI - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex
PLWHA - Persons living with HIV and Aids
HCT - HIV Counselling and Testing
IEC - Inform, Educate, Communicate
HBC - Home-based Care
TB - Tuberculosis
Aim of the programme:
The purpose of the programme is 2-fold:
- To avail home-based care and counselling services to 200 HIV+ persons in the LGBTI community who are in a frail and/or bedridden condition and their close family members who are dependent on them;
- Material assistance that include:
• To source, pack and distribute sanitary care packs to the above persons to assist with daily hygiene;
• To source, pack and distribute food parcels to the same persons
• To distribute donated goods such as clothing, linen and blankets as and when received at our offices
• Imisebeyelanga Services acknowledges diversity, advocates equality and pursues dignity and non-sexism.
• This Programme works toward appropriate and attainable health standards for gender diverse populations by promoting responsible sex practices amongst LGBTI persons.
• Being active participants in building a world where people of all ages, irrespective of gender identity or HIV status, have the freedom to realize themselves fully as human beings.
South Africa still faces a quadruple burden of diseases consisting of HIV and AIDS and TB; High Maternal and Child Mortality; Non-Communicable Diseases and; Violence and Injuries.
The LGBTI community has been identified as one of the MARP’s (most at risk persons) in South Africa. We have experienced a very high rate of HIV within the LGBTI community that we serve. In our current team of 16 Educators, we have already lost 4 of our team members to HIV/AIDS and related illnesses.
We have also found that LGBTI persons are excluded from programmes at other NGO’s as people are scared that they will “teach” other people and children to be gay. One of the areas of origin of HIV has been that HIV was first diagnosed between gay men in the USA, which lead to the LGBTI community being excluded.
Imisebeyelanga Services started with a holistic service delivery amongst the LGBTI community when the need was identified during workshops and training. Services extended to LGBTI persons include caring and counselling, building confidence, distribution of barrier methods to assist in the spreading of HIV and Aids, HIV Peer Education and giving them a place to belong.
Imisebeyelanga has been running the HIV Peer Education and Prevention Programme amongst the LGBTI community since July 2012. The Programme was sponsored by Gauteng Department of Health until June 2014. During this Programme, 16 trained Peer Educators informed and educated LGBTI persons on HIV and Aids and related illnesses, and promoted Prevention by distributing barrier methods.
LGBTI persons who have been tested as HIV+ are rejected, victimized and shunned by communities as the “carriers of evil” or “freaks” and left to fend and look after themselves.
Most of these people cannot find work due to discrimination which leaves them vulnerable as they are not able to keep to their ARV and other treatments due to lack of sufficient food and proper nutrition.
Some LGBTI persons have been the sole breadwinner of their families.
They also looked after children of the family and provided food, medication, utilities and housing.
Most LGBTI persons are abandoned when they get too sick to look after themselves and their family as there is no one to look after them and provide care, cook meals, clean their homes, washing, get to the hospital/clinic for treatment and/or medication.
Within the areas of Soshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Winterveldt and Mabopane, we have identified 200 LGBTI persons who are HIV+ and in need of basic care, counselling and material assistance. Most of these persons are still responsible for looking after their families. Due to ill health, this is no longer possible and families and children are in desperate need of assistance.
Imisebeyelanga Services wants to assist by extending the following services:
• care of persons as described above by doing home-based care for the identified persons – basic care, cooking, cleaning, washing, counselling, referring to correct medical facilities, buddy-system for ARV treatment and other services which may be needed by immediate family members of affected people
• delivering of monthly food parcels which mainly include dry ingredients – maize, soya mince, spices, soups, mielie rice, tinned fish, fish oil, vegetables, coffee, tea, sugar, powder milk.
• sanitary care-packs which include basic types of toiletries – soap, cloth, cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant is envisioned
• distribution of donated goods such as clothing, linen and blankets received at our offices