Mpumalanga province has the second highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in South Africa.
Barberton is a rural area and unemployment, poverty and crime, including child abuse and neglect, are rampant.
There are few residential facilities in the province for persons living with HIV/AIDS and there is NO other known facility that accepts terminally ill mothers with a baby or young child.
The number of malnourished children infected by HIV/AIDS continues to grow, as does the number of deaths. St John’s Care Centre meets the nutritional and health needs of such persons.
Currently at the centre, there are 31 children, ages 1 year to 13 years.
None of the children living at St John’s, or their families, have personal resources to contribute financially towards their care.
One of the greatest challenges of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is educating people about how the disease is transmitted and spread.
Throughout the region, St John’s Care Centre offers programmes that include positive living with HIV/AIDS through behaviour modification, prevention and anti-retroviral treatment.
Courses are offered for those who care for the dying or are involved in palliative care.
Without prevention and education, there is no hope of stemming the tide of this disease throughout South Africa.