It is well documented that HIV/AIDS is insidiously eroding the human capital of the world. Higher Education (HE) has a public mandate to develop leaders to ensure a sound and viable economy is currently perceived as a vulnerable sector and under severe threat. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University cannot afford to undermine this threat based on the international and national plethora of evidence based research relating to the increasing HIV prevalence and incidence of AIDS cases worldwide. The contextual environment of campus life further exacerbates the threat to its learners by virtue of the characteristic social campus life where lifestyles and choices are known to contribute to risky sexual behaviours’ consequently fuelling HIV transmission. The highest prevalence rates and incidence of HIV/AIDS in South African and Sub Saharan Africa fall within the age group of 15 to 24 year olds. The HE as a sub sector may therefore be disproportionately more affected than any other sector in South Africa as the majority of those who form the HE community fall within this age category.

The university thus has an innate responsibility to actively respond to the disease in a comprehensive and well coordinated manner. All facts of operation, all personnel and students will be affected by the impact of the disease. There is an urgent need for the Nelson Mandela University to mainstream HIV/AIDS into all the core activities of the university in order to prevent the transmission and to mitigate the impact thereof. Mainstream by definition implies that HIV/AIDS initiatives and activities form an integral part of the university business.