Popular HIV magazine show back on SABC 1

Mary-Anne Gontsana
News
New season, new presenter, same time, same channel. Education and health television programme Siyayinqoba Beat-It! will air its first episode of season 8 next week Thursday on SABC 1 at 1:30pm.

Siyayinqoba is a weekly TV show for everyone living with HIV and AIDS, as well as their partners, families, friends and care givers. It is produced by Community Media Trust (which also produces the GroundUp Web project in conjunction with the University of Cape Town's Centre for Social Science Research).

Since 1999 Siyayinqoba has provided a platform for people living with HIV to share their challenges and victories. Many people living in isolation with HIV find that through the programme they are part of a vibrant and growing community of people who are meeting and beating the challenges of HIV.

A surprise for the viewers this season is 22-year-old Mihle Pike who will host the programme. Pike is from Khayelitsha. She was one of hundreds of hopefuls who auditioned for the programme. She started out as a trainee journalist for GroundUp.

"I am passionate and strongly affected by HIV/AIDS. It's an honour and a great responsibility to be selected to present Siyayinqoba. I hope I will learn a lot and that millions of viewers will benefit from the knowledge about HIV and TB that is taught on the show. Many people are afraid to ask questions about HIV, but by watching this series they can often find the answers to the questions they so desperately want answered."

“I have lost many family members to AIDS and this made me realise that the lack of education or knowledge about the virus was part of the reason why they died. This definitely adds to my passion. I want to help educate as many people as I can, including myself, and Siyayinqoba is a great way to do that,” said Pike.

This season, Siyayinqoba will look carefully at the Department of Health’s policies and how this relates to people’s lives. In some instances they uncover uplifting stories where the public health system is using innovative ways to improve health and access to health, but in other cases, government is failing to live up to its own policies and disappoints.

Pike said the themes for this season would be fixed dose combination medicines (FDCs), prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and primary healthcare. "There are many new developments in the public health system and government policies that people at community level are not aware of, such as FDCs for HIV, new protocols and changes to the PMTCT guidelines. All of these changes are for the better and Siyayinqoba wants to make sure that our audiences are up-to-date with the latest health information.”

Siyayinqoba will also be running a campaign called Keep Mzansi Healthy. This will show people who are taking responsibility for their own health. Pike say she hopes this will inspire people to exercise and look after their health. "South Africa has a high rate of obesity. Many people can reduce their risk of diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes with a good diet and exercise.”