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‘Get tested’ contest upsets TAC

111201. Cape Town. DA Leader, Helen Zille and other Senior leaders of the Democratic Alliance Leadership took HIV test at the Dorp Street Reproductive Health Clinic in Cape Town. Picture Henik Kruger/Cape Argus

111201. Cape Town. DA Leader, Helen Zille and other Senior leaders of the Democratic Alliance Leadership took HIV test at the Dorp Street Reproductive Health Clinic in Cape Town. Picture Henik Kruger/Cape Argus

Published Dec 2, 2011

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The TAC in Khayelitsha has expressed concern at Premier Helen Zille’s “Get Tested and Win” draw, saying its results were anything but positive.

TAC Khayelitsha district organiser Lumkile Sizile said people were demanding to enter the competition, with four prizes of R10 000 each and a grand prize of R50 000, before being tested.

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“We support the campaign of HIV counselling and testing but we don’t support people being induced by money to get tested,” said Sizile. Since the start of the competition this week, the TAC in Khayelitsha had noticed people getting tested and entering the competition at many sites to increase their chances of winning. “This is a short-term measure that will all end on December 10. What will happen after this date to encourage more people to get tested,” asked Sizile.

But yesterday Zille again defended the draw, saying it would ultimately contribute to fewer infections in the province. Zille will today meet the first winner, of a R10 000 cash prize, said her spokesman Zak Mbhele. “The winner, Daniel Arries from Ravensmead, will be met by Premier Zille at his place of work in Beaconvale, Parow.”

Taking her annual test yesterday, Zille said the Western Cape had always been pioneering when it came to treating HIV-positive people.

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“We were strongly criticised when we gave HIV-positive people full treatment. This has brought down the HIV prevalence in the Western Cape, with only 5.3 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 29 being HIV-positive,” said Zille.

Also taking the public test with Zille were the DA’s parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, DA federal chairman Wilmot James and Cape Town mayoral committee member for health Lungiswa Gazi-James. Before their tests, all four were counselled by staff at the Dorp Street Reproductive Health Clinic.

After hearing her result, Mazibuko said she was tested annually, usually in her constituency of Durban North. “It’s very important for politicians to show their constituents the legitimacy of getting tested and that being infected with HIV is not a stigma,” said Mazibuko.

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Asked whether she would enter the “Get Tested and Win” draw, Mazibuko said no, but Zille said she would enter the competition and if she won, would give the money to a charity which supported Aids orphans. “I’m not entering because I want to up the chances of other people winning,” said Mazibuko.

James said he was tested biennially. “Once you are tested you know where you stand and you can manage it.”

He said there was a lot more that the government could do about its Aids policy, adding that strictly advocating an ABC policy was limited. “You need a network of clinics to ensure that everyone has access to ARVs,” James said.

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He agreed with Zille, saying that a change in behaviour, along with personal responsibility, had to be pushed.

“Human beings are odd, when it comes to the smoking story we know it causes cancer but people still smoke.”

Rewarding those who got tested for HIV was part of a “sticks and carrots” approach to contain the disease and eventually see it being eradicated.

“This epidemic needs to burn itself out, but it won’t if we have new infections.” - Cape Times

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