First Thing First (FTF) Awareness Campaign is a nationally run HIV Campaign for all 26 University students across the country, coordinated by Higher Health (HH). The purpose of the campaign is to encourage university students and staff to be screened and tested for HIV, TB, STI’s, Hypertension, Diabetes, Cancer to ensure that all graduate uninfected and those who are already infected or born with HIV, live positively and graduate alive being healthy.

At the University of Venda (UNIVEN), the campaign started on 11 and ran until 15 March 2024. UNIVEN Campus Health conducted the First Things First awareness and TB campaign at Cafeteria Lapa. During the campaign, the following services were rendered: HIV Counselling and Testing, STI screening and Treating, TB screening and testing, Cancer screening Services. The UNIVEN’s Department of Biokinetic, Recreation and Sports Science under the Faculty of Health Sciences, provided Wellness Services. Partners from the Department of Health, PAPSWA and Choice Trust were available throughout the week rendering HIV Testing Service (HTS) to the LGBTQI+ community within the campus including initiation of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis(PrEP).

Programme Assistant: HIV/AIDS Project, Ms Maggie Hlungwani revealed that “During the campaign, a total number of 1525 were counselled and tested – 100 staff, 831 first entering students and 694 returning students. Compared to the 2023 academic year, a total number of 1088 students and staff were tested and counselled – 50 staff , 354 first entering students and 684 returning students. Many students accessed the campaign especially the first entering students in 2024 compared to the year 2023 academic year.
The campaign continued with the face-to-face evening dialogue sessions that took place at off-campus accredited accommodation from Monday to Friday and students
from the following residences were reached: Grand Royale, River Estate, MShelly 1 and 2, Samvuni, Forest Hill, Green Stone, Yellow stone, Sandton, Simeka and Emlajeni. Topics covered included GBV, Mental Health, STI, Contraceptives, TB, HIV and Guarding your heart to prevent crime.At these accredited off-campus accommodation, a total of 1504 was reached in 2024. The sessions were well attended compared to the year 2023 wherein a total of 956 students participated. During the day and evening sessions were supported by officials from Higher Health since FTF is a national campaign implemented by all Institutions of Higher Learning. Ms Hlungwani indicated that the campaign was a success and thanked all the people who participated.

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 23 March 2024

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