On a recent trip to South Africa Charlize Theron highlighted the importance of HIV education among SA youth.
The actress adressed the media on behalf of her own organisation the Charlize Theron African Outreach Project (CTAOP), and was joined by other groups dedicated to the eradication of HIV/Aids in the country.
Enough is enough
With support from CTAOP, projects such as the Choma Dreams Café – an internet-connected youth hub designed to provide young women with HIV prevention and social asset building programmes – are able to exist.
Theron believes that today’s youth will be the ones to end Aids, saying in a press statement: “The young people I meet are inspirational. They are driven, resourceful, and want to be heard. We absolutely must bring them into the room, and into the conversation.”
The star says the fight against Aids is one that must be tackled long before people are exposed to the virus. “We have to be able to put our foot down and say enough is enough, let’s end this,” she told AFP. “You cannot wait for people to become infected and think you are going to stop Aids. You have to invest in your people before they become HIV-positive,” she said.
HIV is 100% preventable
According to the South African National Aids Council (SANAC), the estimated total number of people living with HIV in 2016 was 7 053 987, while those receiving treatement at the time was estimated at 3 422 724.
Speaking to international news agency CNN, Charlize said the high number of infections in South Africa is unfortunate. “South Africa has been the hardest hit by this epidemic, and still is. And it’s just really unfortunate because HIV is 100% preventable.”
“I’m trying to get people not positive so they don’t need treatment. That’s my hope and my dream,” she added.