World Aids day has been celebrated on 1 December since 1988, with the main objective of creating and raising awareness and education about HIV and Aids. As a build-up to World Aids Day the Gauteng Department of Health and Social Development hosted an HIV and Aids exposition at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg. Oasys Innovations supplied infrastructure for the event.
Carl Woodland, chief operating officer for Oasys Exhibitions says that a lot of effort went into the preparations for the exposition. “We realise that we are part of a greater initiative to spread the word about HIV and Aids, even if our involvement only stretches as far as supplying infrastructure. It is a very important annual event for South Africa and if everyone becomes serious about it - including those doing the preparations - this will ultimately lead to a more successful message being sent out.”
The HIV and Aids Exposition focused on educating and information by showcasing the work done by civil societies in the public and private sector. This was enhanced through a host of dramas, arts and crafts activities as well as the ‘One Love' concert featuring gospel, jazz, hip-hop and kwaito music. A highlight on World Aids Day was a keynote address by President Jacob Zuma at the Tshwane Show Grounds, which was broadcast live at Mary Fitzgerald Square.
Continues Woodland, “We supplied 1600m2 of fully carpeted marquees, 50 shell scheme stands as well as registration counters, electrical infrastructure and an assortment of furniture. We also built the framework for the aids ribbon”.
World Aids Day has gained increased significance over the years and even more so in South Africa. Recent statistics confirmed that our country now has more HIV infected people and a higher annual Aids death rate than any other country in the world. The message for World Aids Day 2009 was ‘I am responsible, We are responsible, South Africa is taking responsibility' with the aim of encouraging South Africans to take responsibility through eliminating HIV infections, providing care and support to those living with HIV and to assist in ensuring access to treatment for those in need. “Although the wearing of a red ribbon on World Aids Day is an official way of showing support and commitment our company embraces responsibility as a way of life throughout the year” concludes Woodland.