Staff blog. Submitted by John Mutsambi (HIVP (Prep) Technical Lead)
This year’s World Aids Day theme was ‘Know Your Status’ and it was aptly chosen given that UNAIDS estimates that more than 9.4 million people living with HIV do not know their status.
This message – know your HIV status – applies to everyone including healthcare workers. By seeking HIV testing, I believe that we contribute to raising the profile of HIV testing services and also to securing public confidence in the healthcare system. Modelling this behaviour could, as I see it, help increase demand for HIV testing.
This conviction prompted me to commemorate World AIDS Day 2018 by getting tested for HIV. Guess where I sought the test? From our TB HIV Care mobile wellness clinic in Dunoon.
Wearing my blue TB HIV Care T-Shirt, I approached the mobile van where, Fezeka Mfengu (HAST Counsellor), a young, energetic and rather shy counsellor, welcomed and invited me into the mobile clinic with a broad smile. After the greeting etiquette, she got down to business which started with pre-test counselling, seeking my consent for the test, then screening for tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections and other non-communicable diseases. All this was followed by the HIV test which gave results in 15 minutes. I could feel my heart pounding as each minute passed by, but the feeling that I was doing the right thing comforted me. This short waiting period put me in the shoes of those who seek our services.
On receiving my HIV test result, post-test counselling, which included information on HIV prevention, was conducted. The counsellor followed the national testing algorithm to the letter. Her caring attitude and the service I received showed me that Fezeka is walking in the shoes of our service users. These are our counsellors!!! Thank you for contributing to taking our organisation to great heights of success.
TB HIV Care joined The City of Cape Town, the Department of Health and a group of Khayelitsha NGOs (including MSF, SWEAT, Grassroot Soccer, Desmond Tutu) in Khayelitsha on Friday, 30 November for a World AIDS Day event at the Solomon Mahlangu Hall.
The national theme for World AIDS Day is Cheka Impilo, Know Your Status. The event celebrated health, wellness, community and positive choices while encouraging residents to #KnowYourStatus under the Department of Health’s ‘Cheka Impilo’ and ‘SheConquers’ campaigns.
There was an amazing atmosphere at the Hall (due in part to fantastic performers and speakers) and highlights included:
- A march from MSF’s offices at the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha to Solomon Mahlangu Hall – led by a drum majorette group
- A jazz performance from The Institute for Music and Indigenous Arts Development (IMAD) learners – who were brilliant
- Music, dance and other performances – including Zip Zap Circus
- 5-a-side soccer tournament
Many thanks to our HTS teams who provided free testing, screening and other health checks on the day. And a massive thank you to Ndumi Mtshiselwa (PP Prev Coordinator) who proved to be the perfect MC!
Special mention to Michelle Carey (Deputy Communications Manager) who worked so hard to make this event happen.
With only one week to go until World AIDS Day 2108, TB HIV Care joined a number of a organisations (including We Beat TB and SFH) in supporting the Western Cape Department of Health’s activation on Thibault Square this morning – bringing testing, screening and other health care services directly to the heart of the city centre.
We are nearing the end of Movember (November is Men’s Health Awareness Month), and the national theme for World AIDS Day 2018 is “Cheka Impilo. Know your status”, so it was wonderful to see Priscilla Wawini and her team encouraging men to look after their health and fitness and making HIV testing so quick, easy and accessible. Thank you!