Testing

TB HIV Care Voices: We need to walk in our service users’ shoes

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.