Moves to get more South Africans tested for HIV

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pretoria - Government has scaled up its HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment plan with an emphasis on getting more South Africans tested.

Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said the new up scaled plan will see a shift from voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT), a service delivery model that offers testing to all patients at the entry points in all health institutions.

In line with wanting to see all South Africans tested for HIV and AIDS, HIV testing will now become part of procedure at all health facilities. All public health facilities, fixed and mobile, will be equipped to offer HIV Testing and to provide ART's.

Anyone who walks into a health facility will be offered a test as opposed to South Africans going for voluntary testing.

The target of the HCT campaign is to test up to 15 million people by June 2011.

Cabinet has made an earnest appeal to retired and non-practising health workers to offer their assistance to the new initiative, which will be launched in Gauteng on 15 April 2010 with provincial launches taking place on 19 April 2010. Public testing will also take place during the launches.

Maseko said Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, had already written letters to all retired and non-practicing practitioners appealing to them to support the campaign.

"Retired and non-practising medical staff such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists will be requested to make themselves available to the health system to support this initiative.

"Cabinet appeals to the professionals to respond positively to the minister's call in the country's hour of need," Maseko said.

Cabinet also called on South Africans to be part of this initiative by making themselves available for testing in order to know their status, live healthy lifestyles and help the nation to defeat the scourge of HIV and AIDS.

Maseko said the President as well as ministers and deputy ministers have thrown their weight behind the voluntary testing campaign, and have agreed to participate, depending on their schedules.