Cape Town - On World Aids Day on Wednesday, the City and the province partnered with ANOVA Health Institute and non-profit organisation Touching Nations to launch two new HIV testing strategies at the Delft South Clinic.
World Aids Day is held annually on December 1, with this year’s theme “End inequalities. End Aids.”
The World Health Organization said an estimated 37 700 000 people live with HIV, and 680 000 died from HIV-related causes in 2020.
Mayco member for Community Services and Health Patricia van der Ross said the new testing strategies were part of the City’s search for new ways to find undiagnosed people and offer them treatment.
“It is a massive step forward. I hope the public will embrace what is on offer to them and make informed choices about their health and that of their loved ones,” she said.
The strategies included, HIV Self Screening (HIVSS), using a screening kit to self-test, as well as Index Case Testing, which encourages those with HIV to get all “at risk” contacts (sexual contact, or young children and injecting drug partner(s) within the past year) tested for HIV.
City facilities started with the roll-out of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) services which allows people at risk who test HIV negative to choose to take a daily tablet to prevent them from contracting HIV.
Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo was in attendance at Wednesday’s event with Touching Nations, Jhpiego, TB HIV Care and TASK Applied Science at the Airport Mall, Belhar..
Touching Nations CEO Mark Le Fleur said commemorating World Aids Day was key as around 7.5 million people live with HIV/Aids in the country; Covid-19 restrictions resulted in antiretrovirals being less accessible; and to accentuate positive messages and the elimination of stigma, among others.
Free HIV, TB, blood pressure and glucose testing was offered, including Covid-19 vaccinations.
As of on Wednesday, the Health Department announced that immuno-compromised individuals with conditions such as HIV could now receive an additional Covid-19 vaccine dose, after they have registered on the Electronic Vaccine Data System.