Mixed views over mandatory HIV testing

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Sunday proposed mandatory HIV testing in the Sadc region to stem the spread of the pandemic.

Mugabe told regional leaders meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi, for the 33rd Sadc summit, that HIV has to be treated in the same way as other medical conditions, such as polio.

“The problem is that when it comes to HIV/Aids testing, issues of freedom and rights come into play and yet, we force people to go for testing and vaccinations for diseases such as polio,” said Mugabe.

But regional leaders, including Botswana President Ian Khama differed with him, saying it was not feasible, while Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila said the problem could be addressed by local production of ARVs, while Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said regional leaders must be at the forefront of voluntary testing.

Amid the varied opinions by regional leaders, the Daily News’ Gugulethu Nyazema took to the streets of Harare to glean the opinion of locals.

This is what they said: Ephraim Mupfusiri, 35: ”It is undemocratic to force people to get tested. If they wanted to force people to get tested, in the 1980s when they discovered the first person with HIV, that is when they should have suggested this testing for everybody.”

Faith Solomon, 23: “It was a noble idea but could open doors to other problems in the communities and public health sector. It has its advantage that I get to know my status and get treated early and it also has disadvantages that after people are tested we have no control of what will happen afterwards. Many families will break and suicides will be on the rise because of forced HIV tests.”

Sophia Mashingaidze, 20: “The suggestion is fair and for a good cause because people should know their status. This will help inform citizens about the benefits of knowing your status and advising and encouraging people to get tested is much better.”

Richard Master, 40: “HIV testing would encourage more people to know their status and a way forward could be made to curb the HIV epidemic. However forcing people to get tested is uncouth. They should force people to take antiretrovirals and not testing.”

Comments (7)

same old s**t from the same person who knows nothing but forcing people to do stuff. cannot wait....cannot wait. I'm sure mai mujuru understands me

oliver - 22 August 2013

Why talk about compulsory testing in Lilongwe. Bob where are you going to get the facilities to do that? Remember these are not elections where you you use Nikuv to get a solution. The health facilities are going to, NO, they went to the dogs in the 1983's when this problem could have been nipped in the blood SORRY in the bud. Zanu can talk until the sun rises form the south, without the will and support of the people you have made Zimbabwe a colony to repression, hunger and despair. Your comments come to late to be useful.

Mavara Azarevhu - 22 August 2013

There is no country in the world where people are forced to take HIV tests. There is something called freedom of choice. Mr Mugabe himself and his wife should lead by example and be tested voluntarily. Why use force all the time in simple things which can be done by simple persuasion? Next time the nation will be forced to take anti-malaria tablets, and then painkillers, and then to eat sadza and beef stroganof(Mr Mugabe's favourite). In a civilized nation, force is the last and desperate attempt of desperate leaders.

Chenjerai Hove - 22 August 2013

why do you have to be considerate at our health whether we have HIV OR not .HIV Iis not going to kill us.It is hunger because you concetrate on nonproductivity issues forgeting what the mass want.Mugabe go and tested first don'nt try to divert our attention .We know that your stole the vote of the mass

mugabe - 23 August 2013

Mugabe anopenga.Ndozvachakafambira kuLilongwe.Bva kana iri nyaya yekutestwa icho chinofa

MUGABE - 23 August 2013

All people MUST be tested and know where they stand, am sure some are busy deliberately spreading and possibly they only way to curtail this is for everyone to be tested and the results published

FreeZim - 23 August 2013

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