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IOL unveils HIV/AIDS Web site

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Independent Online (IOL) has developed an HIV/AIDS information portal to provide updated information on research, media commentary and official information sources on the virus.

Launched to commemorate World AIDS Day, the Web site is a "starting point to provide information and get people informed about the disease. The Web and print media are traditionally used as a reference point to educate people. The site will help people to educate themselves and pass the information down to others at grassroots level," says Kamsellin Chetty, IOL HIV/AIDS project manager.

The Web site will cover topics such as therapy and treatment, vaccines and science, life with AIDS, business and economics, HIV statistics, workplace policy and law. A 24-hour online e-mail counselling tool will also be available, says Chetty. "It includes local content on a variety of topics and is geared for an African environment. Our task will be to ensure the content is from reliable sources.

"Technology has a major role to play and I`m aware of the use of SMS to send medical information and to monitor the use of anti-retroviral drugs. Medical companies are also using it to co-ordinate their research and update their databases," says Chetty.

"With over 25 million people infected across Southern Africa, the pandemic is the most important issue facing Africans today. Information is one of the critical weapons in the fight against the devastation of HIV/AIDS, but those seeking it online are often faced with information overload and inaccurate or out of date information.

"The Department of Health will be contributing data - it is happy about the site and is willing to endorse it," says Chetty.

The site will target all people seeking information on HIV/AIDS, including business, healthcare professionals and non-governmental organisations, as well as patients and their families. Regular AIDS news will be sourced from the Independent Group`s 14 newspaper titles, says Chetty.

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