HEAIDS Global Fund Direct Grants Capacity building workshop on 8-9 May 2014 at Southern Sun OR Tambo hotel at which 18 Universities attended.

Johannesburg, 8 May 2014 – The Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) is channelling substantial funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to 23 universities to boost campus – and community – responses to the joint HIV and TB epidemics.

 The cooperation between the national higher education and training sector and Global Fund as the leading funder of global responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic is continually strengthening, explains Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia, Director of HEAIDS.

 HEAIDS is a lead organisation in the higher education and training sector response to HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB and works with 23 higher education institutions and 50 further education and training (FET) colleges, as well as other partners, to mitigate the impact of the epidemic on youth and other communities.

 “A number of South African organisations have been recipients of Global Fund money. The fact that the Fund continues to approve and increase its allocations for the higher education and training sector is testimony to the success of our efforts and interventions – and a sign of confidence in our strategies and capabilities,” says Dr Ahluwalia.

 Between R350 000 and R500 000 will be received by each of the 23 higher education institutions, which collectively see about a million students pass through their doors each year. The amount will be aligned to the institution’s size, needs and capacity for implementation and monitoring.

 Dr Ahluwalia explains that the funding will support institutions to effect programmes in six areas that are critical to the health, welfare and success of students – as well as the neighbouring communities and the broader society:

  • Testing for HIV, TB and STIs and referrals for health services as required, including condom programming.
  • Masculinity issues focussing on male sexual health, HIV prevention, intergenerational sex and medical male circumcision.
  • Systematic lifestyle response to curb and reduce the impact of alcohol and substance abuse, which aggravate the risk of HIV.
  • Advocacy and mobilisation initiatives that address gender inequalities that also drive HIV risk, like gender-based violence, transactional and intergenerational sex, rape and post-exposure prophylaxis.
  • Mentorship of surrounding communities that allows for smarter use of combined resources and strengthening of holistic outcomes regarding HIV, TB and STIs.
  • Responding to stigma and discrimination, and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB in general, as well as towards people living with HIV/AIDS.

 “The value of this development is that we can coordinate where we put the bulk of our combined energy and our overall strategy, monitoring and evaluation, while allowing each higher education institution to customise the interventions in order to tackle their own priorities,” concludes Dr Ahluwalia.