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NGO launches ‘Better off Knowing’ campaign

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The Health Systems Trust  has launched its ‘Better off Knowing’ campaign to motivate South Africans to get tested for HIV.

The high-profile campaign forms part of South Africa’s response to the ambitious UNAIDS ‘Fast-Track’ 90-90-90 global targets for combatting HIV in communities and achieving an AIDS-free generation by 2030. Launched in 2014, the strategy aims to ensure that 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, that 90% of people diagnosed with HIV receive antiretroviral treatment (ART), and that 90% of people on treatment achieve viral suppression and live longer.

Using bold and striking mass media and face-to-face messages that address target audiences, the campaign aims to stimulate frank ‒ but often difficult ‒ reflection, discussion and debate about lifestyle behaviours that increase their risk of HIV infection, and so encourage South Africans to embark on the first courageous step to test for HIV.

In the technological and digital era that has enabled limitless access to information, the campaign focuses on the fact that although people have a wealth of knowledge on all types of topics, the single most important question that they should ask themselves is whether they know their HIV status.

Through daring messaging in language familiar to young girls and boys, men and women, the campaign also addresses high-risk groups such as sex workers, men who have sex with men, drug users, and so-called ‘blessers’ and ‘blessees’.
Judith Annakie-Eriksen, communications manager for HST, says: “South Africa has made major strides in reducing the number of new HIV infections and broadening access to ARVs, but there is much still to be done to bring infection rates to zero. Everyone agrees that knowing your HIV status is an important first step in getting treatment with the ultimate aim of controlling your viral load.”

The campaign builds on South Africa’s hugely successful ARV programme, the largest ARV roll-out in the world.

“In South Africa there are many different people at risk of HIV so we have tried to create messages that speak to them all. The campaign targets a broad range of people from all walks of life, including key populations, in a way that will catch their attention and help them to see the benefits of getting tested,” says Annakie-Eriksen.

Health Systems Trust material

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