From the onset of this annual event, 20 years ago, each campaign has focused on HIV/AIDS and related facets of the epidemic, such as alcohol abuse, the dangers of multiple and concurrent partners and gender-based violence, inter alia. This year the emphasis was on the link between HIV/AIDS and Cancer.
The Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Honourable Juliet Kavetuna, in her keynote address said that persons infected with HIV are more susceptible to suffering from several types of Cancer due to the weakness of their immune systems. She said the virus is no longer a death sentence as it was in 1986 when it was first reported in Namibia, and appealed to the public to get tested so that they know their status.
The Vice-Chancellor, Tjama Tjivikua, applauded the Department of Student Services for improving knowledge of HIV prevention and promoting healthy lifestyles among students. “This is particularly important, given the recent UNICEF report that puts prevalence and comprehensive knowledge of HIV among the youth at about 8% and 65% respectively. With these statistics, it is clear that if we are to contain the increase in new HIV infections among the youth, it is imperative that drug treatment is extended to as many infected people as possible,” Tjivikua said.
The United States Ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton, highlighted his government’s longstanding commitment to ensure that Namibians live healthy. He said this was the reason his country funded the NUST initiative. He urged young people to get tested and treated where necessary, to contain the virus.
The theme of the event was expressed through various creative activities on campus, such as dance and theatrical performances, debating competitions and a wellness drive that included HIV and Prostate Gland testing for staff and students.