“Know your status”

Lt. Col. Kwadi lit his candle from ME Letsebe’s candle

LEPHALALE — The South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) based in Lephalale, together with other role players, celebrated World Aids Day on Friday 1 December at the SAMHS base. The main message for the day was “Own your Health … Know your Status”.
Warrant Officer MM Rampou from Lephalale SAPS presented the welcoming and introduction and said: “If we love ourselves, we should also show that love to those who are affected and those who are dead.” You render service to God if you do things for your neighbour. Let us all render service to God. Prevention is the best cure.
The Working on Fire choir gave a heart-warming performance to add more glory to the event.
Guest Speaker, Sr MM Belle from the Department of Health, contributed with a message out of a medical perspective.
“We are together to focus on the theme of today. Today we are here in remembrance of our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers who passed because of HIV. We should own our health”.
Today we know there is a great difference between HIV and Aids. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that may cause an infection, but AIDS is a condition or a syndrome. Being infected with HIV can lead to the development of AIDS, which stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS develops when HIV has caused serious damage to the immune system.
She explained the different ways HIV can be contracted – like through unprotected sexual intercourse, HIV is a virus that infects people by getting inside their blood cells. To avoid getting HIV, you must prevent the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk of someone who is infected from entering your body through your mouth, vagina, anus, tip of your penis, or breaks in your skin.
“Please go for a test to see what your status is. You can be negative today and tomorrow you can be positive”. An HIV positive person can still manage the HIV virus and ME Letsebe, who addressed the guests, is living proof of it. He said that he is living a normal healthy life and at the age of 61 he is very healthy and fit. He however emphasised that he takes his medicine on a regular basis.
“I’m proud to say I am HIV positive,” he said.
To be HIV positive means you are simply living with the virus. It is not the end of the world. You can still have a full life. It starts with you.
Lt Col Kwadi from Lephalale SAPS brought a message on behalf of Brig John Masia, Cluster Commander and KM Ramokolo, dietician at DOH, gave advice on how to stay healthy by eating wholesome raw food.
After the formalities, a candle lighting ceremony was held, initiated by Warrant Officer CP Mokgesi, SAPS Psychologist and Warrant Officer MP Kekae, SAPS Social Worker.
The largest candle was lit by HIV positive Mr ME Letsebe and thereafter candles were lit until everyone was holding a lighted candle. The candles were lit in honour of all those that have died from AIDS and those who are still battling the disease.
The candles were then either blown out or snuffed, symbolising either blowing away the illness or to feel the pain of those who are ill.
Warrant Officer MM Rampou closed the proceedings with a touching prayer.

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