Social media is a tool that is now widely used across various industries. A South African medical doctor, Dr Sindi van Zyl is spearheading the drive towards increasing awareness (especially HIV/AIDS) by interacting with ordinary South African citizens through social media, in addition to other work she does to towards this cause.
In South Africa, there are just above 6 million people living with HIV/AIDS, making it the country with the highest prevalence of the pandemic. Van Zyl is largely credited with using social media influence to promote social acceptance and understanding of HIV/AIDS.
Describing herself as “half Zulu, half Shona and all about HIV,” Van Zyl is passionate about driving the message home about prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. She created a blog which has gained popularity. “I love taking about HIV. Luckily I only need about four hours of sleep a night,” she says.
People reach out to van Zyl through various mediums, including email, SMS, WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook, with the majority of them valuing anonymity.
“I’ve realised people want information, they want help, but the biggest problem is stigma. We are living in a world with a high rate of HIV stigma,” she says.
A key driver of the work she does is the desire to make sure that people live with with hope and not die out of ignorance. “I want everyone in the world to be able to access information,” she said.
A visit to her website www.drsindi.co.za introduces you to Dr Sindi:
“I am a medical doctor with a passion for Primary Health Care. I realised that I could leverage my social media presence with medical knowledge aimed at helping people make better health decisions. As a medical doctor- with a particular interest in the Prevention of Mother-to-child transmission of HIV programme (PMTCT), I am determined to help create an HIV –free generation by imparting knowledge that empowers patients and health workers.”
Contact Dr Sindi here:
firstname.lastname@example.org or reach her on Twitter @DocSindi.