THE HIV and AIDS pandemic calls for a coordinated approach if concerted efforts to mitigate the impact of the epidemic are to yield positive results.

Cognisant of that, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society joined other AIDS service organisations in the exhibition at the 2007 National AIDS Expo that was being coordinated by Tibatane/ Sibambane Consultancy in collaboration with the country’s HIV and AIDS coordinating body, the National AIDS Council, which provided technical support.

 


The four-day Expo was held at the Harare Gardens from 11 – 14 July and it brought together AIDS service organisations in Zimbabwe. The Expo was running under the theme “Stop AIDS Keep the Promise” with the slogan HIV prevention now.

Harare Metropolitan Governor David Karimanzira and Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa graced the expo which was open to members of public.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society tent was manned by six volunteers who included a District Programmes Coordinator from Chitungwiza, peer educator, Care facilitator, Youth Advisor and a person living with HIV and AIDS who is a member of a Red Cross support group.

"Such Expos are vital for us people living with HIV and AIDS as they bring us closer to the general populace and gives us an opportune time to engage members of the public as we fight HIV and AIDS related stigma and discrimination. We are saying love us, take us as we are. HIV and AIDS is just like any other disease," said Samson Mufari, a PLWHA from the Red Cross Chitungwiza Support group.

Various items from the ZRCS integrated HIV and AIDS unit were displayed including herbs, Information, Education and Communication materials as well as home based care kits. The National Society also took the opportunity to market the Movement.
Prominent musicians, among them poet Albert Nyathi, gospel group Vabati VaJehova, Pastor Haisa, Zex Manatsa, also joined hands with the AIDS service organisations as they churned out songs which were laden with HIV and AIDS lyrics.
More than 1 000 people visited the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society stand over the four-day period.