People in Goromonzi have welcomed the Population Services International (PSI) HIV-self testing initiative being rolled out in the Mashonaland East Province saying it will encourage more people to get tested and know their statuses.
On a visit to the Province this week by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, hundreds of villagers said that the initiative encompasses a lot of privacy which had seen many people shunning the general testing process being done at public HIV testing centers.
In an interview with the PSI representatives in the Province, the organizations said: “Three out of every 10 people living with HIV do not know they are infected with the virus.
“HIV self testing is a new approach that has significant potential to extend access to HIV testing beyond limitations and address barriers to testing, said Potia Katuruza from PSI in Goromonzi.
One beneficiary of this initiative, Author Malume said: “As a man, I am aware that many of us may not get tested as we may not get the time to visit a clinic, feel embarrassed about visiting or speaking to a doctor.
“Therefore self-testing kits could make us more likely to find out our status, giving us the opportunity to seek treatment for HIV earlier than we may, otherwise would have done.
According to the Ministry of Health and child care, the country has made great strides in the reduction of HIV cases.
The Ministry has upped its game in a bid to have zero new cases of HIV infections by the year 2020.
Furthermore the Health Ministry is targeting the UN’s 2020 target, which is 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 percent of those diagnosed with HIV will receive sustained Antiretroviral therapy and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression, which means having very low levels of HIV in the body, even through the virus is still there.
The Ministry’s goal for antiretroviral therapy (ART) is two reach 81 percent of people living with HIV.
Self testing will help to identify people who are HIV positive and link these into HIV treatment and care services.