HIV/AIDS education, counselling and treatment

We provide information about HIV and AIDS, its prevention and how to live responsibly with an infection.

"We provide counselling and education about the disease and its treatment, highly active anti-retroviral therapy."

"We don't talk about it and that's why so many of us are HIV positive.We have to talk about it. We need to get this hippo out of the water, we need to get it out in the open, we need to talk about HIV and AIDS."
(Clare Kalkwarf)


"Let's talk about AIDS first: The first reason we have such a high incidence of AIDS is ignorance. People are brimming with ignorance. They can't read the papers themselves and realise the dangers of the whole HIV and AIDS thing. The consequence is that people are still getting infected. People are not taking the right precautions to protect themselves. So I call ignorance a very big factor.

Unemployment also causes another problem because the female youth are also not getting jobs. Therefore, they have to earn their living as prostitutes and this naturally leads to an increase in the rate of STIs and the AIDS epidemic is accelerated in this way. Of course, also because so many people have moved into our area, we have the problem of high population density and lack of housing for many people. They build shacks in which they have to live. Of course, tuberculosis breaks out when too many people are crowded into too small a space.  These are the main reasons why we have this epidemic of AIDS and tuberculosis in our area."
(Dr Paul Thabethe)

Our AIDS treatment programme HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy)

The HAART programme offers comprehensive holistic help:

Voluntary Counselling and HIV Testing (VCT)
We offer free and confidential HIV Tests to the general public.

Therapy preparation
Before starting treatment, each patient is given intensive information about HIV and AIDS and about what is necessary on their part to ensure the success of treatment.

Antiretroviral Treatment
We provide free Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Treatment (HAART) as comprehensive medical care including

  • regular medical examinations,
  • blood monitoring,
  • on-going prevention or treatment of opportunistic infections,
  • medical and psychosocial counselling
  • and dispensing of the medication.

Adherence Monitoring
Our Therapeutic Counsellors make home visits to our patients on ARV treatment to ensure that they adhere to the treatment and so prevent  treatment failure.
This enables us to discover adverse drug reactions early and to prevent problems.

Social care and livelihood support
We advise our patients on social problems and how to secure their livelihood. We motivate them to actively strive for their livelihood and not to rely solely on the care provided by relatives or service providers. Our goal is to enable a self-sufficient, independent life with the disease.

HIV/AIDS in South Africa

South Africa - like all countries in Africa - has an AIDS problem of catastrophic proportions.

As early as 2007, the South African Department of Health conducted a survey of pregnant women. According to this, 28% of the women were HIV-positive, with the rate being highest in KwaZulu-Natal with 37.4% and lowest in the Western Cape with 12%. Based on a questionnaire survey in South African households in 2008, the rate was 10.9%. Women between the ages of 25 and 29 were most affected, with 32.7% of them being HIV-positive. Among men, 25.8% of those aged 30 to 34 had the virus. In 1997, the number of AIDS deaths was 316,000. In 2006, there were 605,000 deaths. The number of annual deaths had thus doubled within 10 years.



Every day 6 babies die of AIDS in our province of kwaZulu/Natal.
4000 people per day are infected with HIV in southern Africa
20% of women who came for antenatal examinations in kwaZulu/Natal in 1995 were HIV positive.
(Source: Sunday Tribune, 23 February 1997)
Current figures/statistics

In some areas of Zululand, 88% of the total population is HIV-positive and statistics do not know about the number of unreported cases.

Migrant labour undermines marital fidelity.
Those who lack the money to pay the bride price (11 cattle) often resort to premarital sexual relations.
Urbanisation also leads to alienation from moral values.
Polygamy and promiscuity do the rest.
Those who see ancestral spirits or spells as causes of disease and sacrifices or counterspells as their cure have little to do with human immunodeficiency viruses and their dangers.

The vicious circle

There is a lot of poverty here with us. Poverty means that people cannot afford to eat well. So naturally their body's resistance is low. Then the virus can attack them very easily. That is a very significant fact. Of course, what causes poverty is unemployment. Many of the factories have closed down, but many of their former workers are still there. They have no work, so they are poor and cannot find a living. This causes the vicious circle of "poverty - malnutrition - immunodeficiency - high infection rate".

I think that people with HIV and AIDS suffer most from loneliness. They live in isolation because they are different, branded by the disease. Sometimes they are even shunned or shunned by their own family because they are ashamed of the disease or afraid of getting infected. Although nowadays everyone knows how AIDS is spread and how it is not spread, there is still a lot of misinformation and misbeliefs about this disease, for example that you can catch it from shaking hands.

All these misconceptions and ignorance increase the isolation of patients.

Reports from the AIDS-Hilfe

Reshma (2021)

Reshma reports: Last February I was tested and found out that I was HIV positive.


AIDS treatment saves lives - February 2011

AIDS treatment saves lives

Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) can completely change the life of an AIDS patient who would otherwise be doomed to die soon, allowing him or her to continue…


World AIDS Day Newsletter - 1 December 2009

Today we celebrate World AIDS Day.

Everywhere and from all sides, countless statements, comments, demands and verbal or electronic expressions of sympathy are being published, but only very few are…


Feast of Life - 1 December 2007

We celebrated World AIDS Day with a "Celebration of Life" for all our patients on HAART.

A large group of 70 patients came to the celebration. This is more than half of all our patients in the HAART…


Lindani - September 2007

Lindani*, a little girl, was brought to us by her mother. She had the "usual" symptoms, like diarrhoea and vomiting. The little girl does not look well and is quite weak. In addition, her skin is…


Mandeni is the AIDS stronghold of the world

In 1997, the township of Sundumbili in Mandeni was described in the South African magazine Drum as the "AIDS capital of KwaZulu/Natal". A representative test among factory workers in the iSithebe…


The story of Qalile Uhlelo - Christmas 2004

Qalile Uhlelo*, a 39-year-old woman, came to Blessed Gérard's Hospice in August 2004 asking for help. She was very ill and had all kinds of opportunistic infections. She openly admitted that she was…


If only I had said NO - Easter 1999

(This is a short story written with the intention of drawing attention to the disaster facing our area and representing the work of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre & Hospice).

This story is based on…


From our newsletter of Easter 1998

Blessed Gérard's AIDS Awareness Programme

Our AIDS prevention programme will also be utilised more through the iSithebe AIDS Forum. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. P. Z. T. Thabethe has been asked to…


From our newsletter of August 1996


Dr Thabethe, our medical director, and all the active members who have been trained as AIDS awareness trainers have been extremely active during the last few…


World AIDS Day - 1995

1 December 1995 was World AIDS Day.

We, the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, under the auspices of Dr Thabethe, tried to make the local communities aware of the danger of contracting the HIV virus.



From our newsletter of December 1994


Eighteen members of our fraternity participated in a course for trainers in AIDS prevention, which was organised with the help of our Diocesan AIDS Team. Although we enjoyed…