MSF introduces night HIV testing

HARARE - Medicins Sans Frontières (MSF) has introduced a “night clinic” to provide HIV testing.

“In order to beat HIV, it is necessary to put more people on treatment, and that has to start with detecting those who do not know they are HIV positive,” Kim Stambuli, MSF in Zimbabwe inter-sectional communications officer said.

“But for this to be possible, it is necessary to reach the high hanging fruits; those who do not have access to HIV testing.

“This is what MSF does with its night clinic in Zimbabwe where health care workers come to the community and offer them HIV testing.”

United Nations (UN) envisages that 90 percent of people living with HIV should know their status by 2020.

With Zimbabwe still battling with stigma, a night clinic is likely to help fulfil the target as it will also attract thousands who dread having their tests conducted in broad daylight.

MSF claims over 2 million people in Zimbabwe could be living with HIV/Aids although official figures claim 1,4 million people are affected.

Stambuli said the difference is attributable to ignorance, a situation feeding into the spread of the virus and Aids-related deaths in the country.

“In Zimbabwe, one in six people live with HIV,” he said. “But many don’t know their status.

“They do not know they risk infecting others, and they do not know they need to be initiated on ARV treatment which not only helps protect them, but also reduces to close to zero, the risk of them transmitting the virus if their treatment is working optimally.”

A recent clinical trial conducted by the International HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) confirms that there is only a four percent chance that HIV positive people adhering to anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs are likely to infect their partners, at least among heterosexual couples.

Official reports show that approximately 57 000 new HIV infections are recorded annually while the number of people dying from HIV/Aids-related illnesses significantly dropped from 170 000 in 2003 to about 60 000 last year.

MSF believes the figures can be much lower if everyone knew their status.

MSF introduces night HIV testingWendy Muperi

MÉDECINS Sans Frontières (MSF) has introduced a “night clinic” to provide HIV testing.

“In order to beat HIV, it is necessary to put more people on treatment, and that has to start with detecting those who do not know they are HIV positive,” Kim Stambuli, MSF in Zimbabwe inter-sectional communications officer said.

“But for this to be possible, it is necessary to reach the high hanging fruits; those who do not have access to HIV testing.

“This is what MSF does with its night clinic in Zimbabwe where health care workers come to the community and offer them HIV testing.”

United Nations (UN) envisages that 90 percent of people living with HIV should know their status by 2020.

With Zimbabwe still battling with stigma, a night clinic is likely to help fulfil the target as it will also attract thousands who dread having their tests conducted in broad daylight.

MSF claims over 2 million people in Zimbabwe could be living with HIV/Aids although official figures claim 1,4 million people are affected.

Stambuli said the difference is attributable to ignorance, a situation feeding into the spread of the virus and Aids-related deaths in the country.

“In Zimbabwe, one in six people live with HIV,” he said. “But many don’t know their status.

“They do not know they risk infecting others, and they do not know they need to be initiated on ARV treatment which not only helps protect them, but also reduces to close to zero, the risk of them transmitting the virus if their treatment is working optimally.”

A recent clinical trial conducted by the International HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) confirms that there is only a four percent chance that HIV positive people adhering to anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs are likely to infect their partners, at least among heterosexual couples.

Official reports show that approximately 57 000 new HIV infections are recorded annually while the number of people dying from HIV/Aids-related illnesses significantly dropped from 170 000 in 2003 to about 60 000 last year.

MSF believes the figures can be much lower if everyone knew their status.

 

Comments (2)

My lord. its as if one's status miraculously changes according to the time of the day. If someone is afraid to know their status the fact remains so be it day or night. Whats needed is to fight the stigma associated with being HIV positive and encourage people to get tested early and start treatment earlier. this will ensure that people do not get AIDS but live healthily with HIV.

ndozvo - 17 September 2014

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