HIV test­ing cam­paign on course

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

THE min­istry of Health will con­tinue its coun­try­wide door-to-door HIV/AIDS test­ing and coun­selling cam­paign un­til April this year, HIV/AIDS Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer baroane Phenethi has said.

mr Phenethi told the Le­sotho times said the on­go­ing cam­paign was part of the min­istry’s mis­sion to stem the moun­tain King­dom’s Hiv-preva­lence rate of 23 per­cent, the se­cond high­est in the world be­hind Swazi­land’s 26 per­cent.

“the min­istry of Health launched the door-to-door HIV/ AIDS test­ing and coun­selling cam­paign last Au­gust 2015 to en­able ev­ery mosotho to know their sta- tus,” said mr Phenethi.

“the cam­paign will end in April 2016 and will tar­get peo­ple who are un­able able to visit health fa­cil­i­ties to get tested be­cause of busy sched­ules as well as those who are re­luc­tant be­cause of fear of the un­known.”

He said the premise of the doorto-door cam­paign was to in­ter­act with peo­ple in the fa­mil­iar sur­round­ings of their homes.

“In such an en­vi­ron­ment, it be­comes much eas­ier to dis­cuss with them, and for the peo­ple to speak freely thereby in­creas­ing the chances for their agree­ing to get tested,” mr Phenethi said.

“Our main ob­jec­tive is to get as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble test- ed for HIV to en­sure we achieve the 90/90/90 Fast track goals by 2020.”

Un­der the treat­ment tar­get, 90 per­cent of all peo­ple liv­ing with HIV would know their HIV sta­tus, 90 per­cent of all peo­ple di­ag­nosed with HIV would re­ceive sus­tained an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy and 90 per­cent of all peo­ple re­ceiv­ing an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy would have vi­ral sup­pres­sion.

He said the min­istry of Health was col­lab­o­rat­ing with vil­lage health work­ers in the cam­paign, al­though not ev­ery­one was com­fort­able to share in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing their health with peo­ple they were fa­mil­iar with.

“Some of the peo­ple don’t want their neigh­bours or peo­ple from within their com­mu­ni­ties to know their HIV sta­tus, so they opt not to co­op­er­ate with the vil­lage health work­ers and don’t al­low them to en­ter their homes,” said mr Phenethi.

“Some of the peo­ple view the cam­paign in a neg­a­tive light, yet it is meant to as­sist them and not to dis­crim­i­nate or stig­ma­tise them be­cause of their health sta­tus.

“ba­sotho need to un­der­stand that the fight against the HIV/ AIDS pan­demic starts with ev­ery one of us.

“this cam­paign is not meant to pun­ish any­one, but to en­sure we are all aware of our Hiv-sta­tus so that we can get the req­ui­site as­sis- tance.”

He said those who tested pos­i­tive would be en­cour­aged to go to their near­est health cen­tres for fur­ther as­sis­tance.

“As for those who test neg­a­tive, they should keep it that way by de­sist­ing from risky be­hav­iour like hav­ing mul­ti­ple sex­ual part­ners and not us­ing con­doms,” mr Phenethi noted.

“the cam­paign is also meant to bring aware­ness to the fact that stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion play a ma­jor role in mak­ing HIV pa­tients stop tak­ing their treat­ment.

“So a lot of work still needs to be done in ed­u­cat­ing the pop­u­lace so they can make in­formed de­ci­sions.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.