The Western Cape Health Department says Premier Helen Zille’s “Get tested and Win” HIV testing campaign, with prizes totalling R100 000, is gaining momentum.

Despite widespread criticism, including from the SA Medical Association, Zille has pushed ahead and is expected Wednesday to make the first draw of one of five R10 000 prizes. It will be given to a member of the public who has been tested since the competition opened on Monday.

All the prizes for the lucky draw, which includes a grand prize of R50 000 and runs until December 9, are funded from the public purse through Zille’s office.

Western Cape Health Department spokesman Faiza Steyn said the second day of the campaign went much better.

“More people came for the counselling and testing at these sites. The only challenges we were facing was setting up the sites at municipal halls where there were pre-arranged events, but we are attending to this via the executive of the City of Cape Town through the Premier’s office. Testing is also happening at the Thusong Centres throughout the Western Cape,” Steyn said.

She could not say how many had been tested on Tuesday but an estimate by 2pm indicated that about 500 people were tested at half of the sites.

“These are encouraging numbers for one day. We are expecting these numbers to rise as the campaign gains momentum,” Steyn said.

Some testing centres in Manenberg and other places had yet to be set up on the second day of the campaign on Tuesday.

At a mobile site at the Nyanga taxi rank most people were not aware of the competition until they saw a poster advertising it on the mobile unit. By lunchtime nearly 60 people had been tested.

A group of high school girls came together to support one another as some of them were tested for the first time and for others it was a third time.

Asanda Ndlezana, 19, was sitting in the waiting room to get her third HIV test done.

“I came to know my status every year because I want to know so I can be safe.

“A lot of people in Nyanga are still scared to do this, so the competition is a good idea because it will encourage people. If someone poor wins the money it will be good because then they can motivate other people to get tested,” she said.

A 15-year-old coming for her first HIV test said she was “very scared”.

“I want to know my status but if I find out it’s positive then I don’t know what I am going to tell my parents because they will want answers and I won’t have answers.”

She wasn’t aware of the competition but said she would definitely tell people about it to encourage them to get tested. - Cape Times

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