South African President Jacob Zuma launched an ambitious effort in April 2010 – to get 15 million South Africans to test for HIV by June 2011. JHHESA, the CCP office in South Africa, is supporting this campaign through Brothers for Life. Using mass media and community mobilization activities in partnership with national, provincial and district Departments of Health and NGOs, the campaign aims to get men tested so that they know their HIV status and can take action to protect their health and that of their families.
The Brothers for Life Ambassadors were enthusiastic about the experience of publicly testing for HIV.
Tshepo Maseko, Actor: “AIDS is a reality that hits close to home and we can’t keep candy coating these issues because the message doesn’t get across. As celebrities, we talk a lot but don’t always act as we should and that should change. We have this influence and a platform, so we need to use it to say to people, ‘Take responsibility and get tested’.”
Matthew Booth, Footballer: “I feel that this is a fantastic initiative by Brothers for Life, and I am truly honored to be part of it. By doing the test, I hope I was able to encourage more people to come and get tested. Not only for themselves but also for their families.”
John Smit, SA Rugby Captain: “I was happy to take a public HIV test. Even if it is a nervous exercise. It is a few minutes out of your life – and knowledge is power. As a man, and a Brother for Life, I would like to encourage all South African men and women to do the right thing. It is critical that we all know our HIV status, for the sake of ourselves and our loved ones.”
Brothers for Life is a national campaign that encourages men to positively influence each other as men, partners, parents and leaders. The campaign is a collaborative effort led by South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), the Department of Health, USAID/PEPFAR, Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), Sonke Gender Justice, the United Nations System in South Africa and over 100 other civil society partners working in the field of HIV prevention and health.