Dept probes allegations of 'forced' HIV tests

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pretoria - The North West Department of Health says it will investigate allegations that nurses at Ikhutseng Community Clinic are illegally making treatment for any illness conditional on patients agreeing to be tested for HIV.

According to media reports on Tuesday, staff at Ikhutseng Community Clinic in Klipgat is using HIV tests as passports to treatment after the Department of Health launched its massive HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign last year in April.

North West Health Department spokesperson, Tebogo Lekgethwane, reiterated that HIV tests are voluntary and should never be a precondition for further treatment.

"The HCT is aimed at encouraging people to know their HIV status so that they prevent new infections and those found to be positive to receive treatment.

"HIV tests are not compulsory and cannot in any way be used as a passport to treatment," Lekgethwane said, urging community members to report health officials involved in the practice to the department.