Assessing Numsa’s HIV/Aids programme

HIV/Aids is just one of the issues that will come up for discussion at the congress later this year. Regional delegates met recently to analyse the union’s progress. Jenny Grice reports. Representatives from all Numsa’s nine regions were there to measure the Union ‘s achievements around HIV/Aids as against the resolutions that it passed at its 2000 congress.

Delegates reported some progress in big companies. Some companies now have HIV/Aids policies including access to anti-retrovirals. But small companies continue to provide no protection for their workers. Delegates heard how many HIV positive workers exhaust all their sick leave and are then forced to take unpaid leave when they continue to be ill.

More work still remained to be done on implementing the resolutions. “We have failed to persuade people to abstain from sex,” said Mabhontshisi Linda , Mpumalanga regional educator. And while male condoms are freely available, female ones are not easy to come by.

More work needed to be done to ensure that the issue of HIV/Aids form part of schools’ syllabus. “I am the chair of my child’s School Governing Body,” said Cecily Scheepers , Eastern Cape ‘s regional administrator. “Our children need education around this because teenagers are being infected and affected.”

Delegates looked forward to the HIV/Aids counselling workshop set for the end of March. At present, “we can tell people to come out and declare their status but then we have no-one trained to support them,” said Vanessa Le Roux, Cape Town local organiser.

“Some resolutions we have achieved, others we have not,” summarised HIV/Aids sector co-ordinator, Selinah Tyikwe. We don’t need new resolutions, we just need to implement the ones that we already have.”