Northern Cape - The Department of Health in the Northern Cape has kicked-off its Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) week which encourages voluntary HIV testing.
Themed, "Know your status, lead and unite," the week encourages people across the province to visit their nearest health care facility to voluntarily get tested for HIV.
"Objectives of the VCT week are to scale up implementation of VCT services, address issues of stigma and promote partnership with all relevant stakeholders in the prevention and mitigation against HIV and AIDS," the department said.
The VCT aims to encourage people to test and know their status before they get sick, promote behaviour change and early detection and prompt management.
The testing process will consist of pre-test counselling, testing and post-test counselling.
MEC for Health Mxolisi Sokatsha launched the provincial VCT week on Monday which will run until Friday.
The VCT week will be followed by the National Partnership Against AIDS event to be held in Kimberly on 9 October 2009.
The Partnership Against AIDS was first launched in 1998 to ensure a broad-based and multi-sectoral societal response, based on the recognition that no single sector, ministry, department or organisation is solely responsible for addressing the HIV epidemic.
The partnership brings together different sectors of civil society and government working to combat the disease at different levels.
The sectors include business, faith-based organizations, traditional healers, youth groups, women groups, labour, organizations of people living with AIDS and people living with disabilities.