North West reaches 1 million HIV testing target

Thursday, June 16, 2011
By: 
Sydney Masinga

Mafikeng- More than one million people have tested for HIV in the North West as part of government's drive to combat the pandemic.

Provincial health department spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said on Monday that the province's target was 998 859 tests, with the national target being 15 million.

"We are proud our province is the first in the country to achieve its target. We have so far tested more than a million since the campaign was launched last year," said Lekgethwane.

President Jacob Zuma launched the national HIV, Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign in April last year as part of government's new and up-scaled HIV and Aids prevention and treatment plan.

The objectives of the new scaled up plan is to reduce the rate of infection by 50 percent by 2011 and to provide ARV treatment to 80 percent of those who need the treatment.

Other objectives of the new implementation plan include more emphasis on prevention through information, education, widespread distribution of condoms and mobilisation of millions of South Africans to know their status.

"In 2008, the national HIV prevalence among pregnant women attending ante-natal classes was 29, 3 percent across the country. In the North West, the prevalence was 31 percent, with Dr Kenneth Kaunda district municipality being the highest at 35 percent," said Lekgethwane.

"In our latest testing, we are seeing changes with HIV prevalence in pregnant women now at 30 percent."

Lekgethwane added that the province has also rolled out more Health Care facilities that are accredited to offer ARV treatment, increasing ARV distribution sites from 29 to 80.

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